Huld's fourth album 'Dare To Dream Small' is a delightfully warm and optimistic 12-track album of stripped-back, smooth indie-hits that can't help but bring a pleasing smile to your face. Beautifully produced and with a loveable vocal, the album is the perfect accompaniment for a warm summer evening with a glass of your favourite drink, as suggested by opening track 'Summer Inside' which feels like the perfectly evocative track. It might not really offer anything hugely different over its dozen songs which each song blending into each other but what it does offer is a great soundscape and some beautifully written words.
'Take Me Dancing', track two, is heartfelt and feels like a love story brought to song. 'My Heart Sings' continues the theme but lacks a strong chorus like the first two, but the soaring strings and strong arrangement give the song life. 'Last Rays of the Sun', with its Emma Stevens-like sound, brings the guitar to the forefront of the mix and its bouncy rhythm will get your foot-tapping. 'Leaving Me Behind' is a gentler number that focuses more on the words than the music but still boasts that noteable chorus whilst 'Violet' with its stronger drum beat and bigger radio-friendly feel is surely a contender for a single.
'Underdog' is a slower number led by piano, with more soaring gentle vocals from Huld, capturing the mood of the rainy day of the lyrics nicely. 'Is It Better?' is my favourite of the album tracks thanks to its very well written and touching lyrics, and it's followed up by the delightfully folk-tinged 'By The Road'. 'Fineshade Forest' is another subtle folk-led number that holds the gentle vibe of the album, painting more vivid pictures as it goes. The title-inspiring 'Dream Small' almost wraps the album up with a slow dance of a song before 'By Now' with its Moby-ballad-like ending which sounds a little like a duet with its echoey backing vocals, is not the most arresting of numbers but provides a gentle conclusion to a strong, folk-led and mostly optimistic outward-looking album, tied together by Huld's dreamy, delightful vocals and some top-drawer lyrics. Great. (7.5/10)