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I noticed this dazzling little Dream Pop gem hailing out of Denver, Colorado. Civil Engineer is the project of multi-instrumentalist Aaron Wey. The energy of this newly released title track Empire is almost therapeutic. I dare you not to be mesmerized.

The song begins with a splendidly simple guitar melody; an invitation to look up from your work and see what’s around the corner. Then, a gentle burst of unusual and refreshing three-quarter-time percussion rhythms and Wey’s mesmerizing vocal lines weaving in and out of a deep, moving bassline. Soft, spacey synth expressions are built imperceptibly into the track, lifting the mood upward, while repeating electric guitar lines keep one’s feet rooted to the earth.

It’s soothing…lulling…there’s a sense of moving in slow upward spirals, as Wey’s vocals keep reaching and stretching upward in range. On the second listen, I found my own voice humming along with Wey’s, as if spellbound. There’s something in this song that invites synchronicity and balance.

And I suppose it’s the lyrics and theme, too, which invite balance and perspective. Empire is about choosing forward motion, about turning from the imperfections, pains, and regrets of the past. It’s hopeful without becoming superficial. It’s uplifting in a muted and measured way.

Warmth spreading from my chest,

All we can do is just move forward.

Wey recognizes the lure of the past while turning toward the promises of change in the future. There’s a sense of strength and empowerment in the song. The future is not fate, it’s of our creation and response. It all feels very genuine, very human, and a beautifully composed description of renewed hope.

Empire is the title track from Civil Engineer’s newly released third studio album Return.