Violent Dreams, “Scared of the Dark”
released July 22, 2017,
Every now and then, the Internet surprises me with the sounds of a budding band. This is one of those times, and we at Fadeawayradiate are proud to bring Liverpool’s Violent Dreams to your attention. Consisting of Matt Suter and Abby Sethu, the duo has recently released their debut EP, Scared of the Dark. This five-song EP has managed to encapsulate the evolution of British shoegaze, nostalgic of the swooning spell I remember falling under when I first heard bands like Spacemen 3, RIDE, the Cocteau Twins, Jesus and Mary Chain, Slowdive, Lush, My Bloody Valentine, and Chapterhouse. The last time I fell into this chest-sinking haze of transcendent, collective noise was when I heard Galaxie 500′s Today LP, and then Mazzy Star‘s So Tonight That I Might See LP. The rhythm of the jangles, the soft vocals, and the decadent simplicity of “Scared of the Dark” is nostalgic of a more innocent time. We all have these times, with accompanying soundtracks. For me, this was the late 80s and early 90s (OBVIOUSLY).
The opening track, “You and Me“, is a love song to introduce the journey of the dark love songs on this EP. There are layers of guitars, with all the bells and whistles, and Abby‘s whispy, dreamy voice that descends like a disembodied entity, coming to distract from whatever else the world has to offer. The next track, “Pieces“, is my favorite. The lyrics are a bittersweet declaration by someone trying to make room for the possibility of love despite the inner turmoil this person is struggling to come to terms with. It is such a painfully beautiful love song in its honesty, which embellished with a dreamy acoustic guitar and accompanying tambourine. It’s the jangle combined with Suter’s vocals that gives me butterflies and the urge to cry at the same time. Read the chorus and try not to tear up: “Coz my minds falling to pieces / I don’t know if we’ll make it through / My mind falling to pieces / I’d pick them up for you”
“Black Light” follows the same vein, but descends into a lovely darkness–you know, the one that wakes you up and gets you to trudge on in the name of love. The beginning of the song can easily be mistaken for the beginning of a Mazzy Star song, in its hypnotic, sockhop-slow-jam rhythm. The guitars, again, whistling and taxiing in the air, with Suter‘s vocals suspended. It’s as if he is singing from a hot air balloon, brooding about the world below. “Hold a black light to my soul,” Suter sings. It is not so much of a plead as it is a revelation of the inner self. “Laura” is about a person going through a cycle of numbness, indulgence and pain. The soft, jazz lounge-like percussion during the verses helps the song along as a story. The guitars are gentle on this track, lending more of the head room to the lyrics. Somewhere along the line, lyrics began drowning in the sounds of guitars (not looking at you, Kevin Shields). This song really sounds like an essential British rock song–it’s the keyboards that do the trick.
The title track “Scared of the Dark” brings us full-circle in this nostalgic, shoegaze journey with the sounds of a 4AD-artist experience. The guitars start out like a Cocteau Twins song–cavernous and full at the same time. Abby‘s vocals softly pressing against the distorted guitar that comes in during the pre-chorus teases of a menacing presence: the dark. It is a sonic braid of the Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and the Pale Saints.
I am enamored and very glad to have stumbled upon this band. Listening to this for the first time felt like a re-awakening. There’s an old soul in this band. It is audibly noticeable, as it is tenderly exposed. We look forward to hearing more from Violent Dreams.