Dreaming in Stereo's CD-release party at the Stage February 20

"This is not bar-band music," Fernando Perdomo says emphatically of Dreaming in Stereo 2, the followup to the band's remarkable 2009 self-titled debut. Like its predecessor, the new album takes its cue from a distinctly '70s sound, one that melds the orchestral style of the Moody Blues with the drama and daringness of early ELO.

Released on Perdomo's own Forward Motion Records imprint, the record is the latest product of an ambitious musical venture, one that's taking Perdomo and other members of his collective from recent gigs at New York's famed Living Room nightclub to a showcase spotlight at South by Southwest.

Few other local outfits are as consistently imaginative as Dreaming in Stereo, and indeed the band's sophomore set takes that adventurous attitude to new heights. The album is draped in an ethereal orchestral sheen captured by shimmering lead guitars, synths, Mellotrons, and a full chorus of angelic harmonies. Perdomo writes the bulk of the material. But in a sense, it's a more integrated effort than before, with keyboardist and co-vocalist Marisol Garcia, viola player Dave Torre, drummer Eddie Zyne, and bassist Vincent Cuevas stamping their individual imprints on the music's lavish sonic textures.

And as Perdomo implied with his "bar-band" comment, there's a challenge in reproducing this music live. If anything, though, that ought to make this Sunday's CD-release party at the Stage an intriguing proposition. After all, this isn't exactly a basic batch of songs. The determined surge of opening track "Fill My Sky," the billowing of ballad "Part of Your Life," and the drift and lilt of "Summer Is Gone" all attest to the album's sophisticated sound.

" 'Enough's Enough' was written after attending an Enuf Z'nuff concert," he recalls. "When I didn't have a chorus, I sang the name of the band." He claims that the title of "There's Music All Around Me" was inspired by actor Dudley Moore's last words, "according to Wikipedia." And, he notes, the lyrics to "Gonna Sleep Until Tomorrow" were written via text message.

Regardless of their origins, the material that makes up the bulk of Dreaming in Stereo 2 allows for a fascinating aural encounter. And it's no exaggeration to say this music man has minted another masterpiece.

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Lee Zimmerman

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