Every so often an album comes out of nowhere and completely takes you over. As the shimmering singles popped up across my music feed earlier this year, I became aware that this full length album, which was released on Nov. 1st; not even two weeks ago; would be something special. But I didn’t know that it would completely consume me as a listener.
I like a lot of music. I listen to a lot of different genres and really do like to mix it up. That being said, I’m not exactly a multiple listener; especially when it comes to new releases. I enjoy them, sure…but I give it time to grow on me. I wait for those “Oh, I should listen to that again” moments. It generally takes some time or prompting from online music sources.
That was not the case with “Dream Noise”. I could NOT stop listening to this album. I couldn’t exactly put together why it worked so well as an album. It’s not a true concept piece and yet it fully flows. I wanted to pick apart each song, each little nuance layered into the pieces. I was enraptured. Maybe this speaks about me personally and how I deal with romance, but…I was…confused. I didn’t know how to start writing about this big, epic, beautiful thing.
So – I guess I will try to break it down by song. Some thoughts will be longer, some more brief; but if you decide not to dive into this article deeper; please just listen for yourself and draw your own conclusions:
“Saint of Nothing”
I was raised Catholic. I get it. Lots of dark religious imagery here, such as descriptions of damaged rosaries. This is an ominous, looming track that sets the tone for the album as a whole.
“Never Been to Paris”
This song’s lyrics sound like someone in the throes of a dying relationship. Been there. Sometimes you have to be bitter before you can get better. This has a very “Smiths” aesthetic with the structure of the music that is fun and driving, which can make you gloss over the dark content being sung.
This was the first single and it’s just a total banger. I can’t get over how well crafted this song is overall. The lyrics tell the story of one of those magical nights out when you’re young and in love. You recount all of the intricate details as they all play a part of making it so memorable. The lyrics are full of perfect little rhymes that will make you want to listen over and over for catching more of them in the narrative.
“Taxi. Backseat. Bubble gum. Whiskey.”/“Feverish, gravity. Bittersweet Symphony”/ “Memories that taste like cigarettes, Jameson, coffee and cinnamon. Ohh…”
“In Ceremony” is another jangly, jaunty tune but there’s a real nod to the band the National here that I just can’t explain but ultimately makes the track stand out as being vastly different from “Blondie”. This track is another perfect little contained story that somehow works into the album as a collective. As I listen to the words being sung: “You’re stubborn soul and I’m a sensitive man. Aren’t we a couple of love birds with beautiful plans?” I really hope that one day I find that sentiment.
The next track, “Wish I was Here”; made me think one thing: Self doubt is a bitch.
“Kids on Bikes” is a gorgeous little instrumental track that is heavy on the synth and marks the final acts of the album are approaching.
The next track “Queenstown” is the apex moment of the album. Big, sunny chords meld with lyrics describing when you know what you’ve got is good. I want my life to be like this song.
The next few tracks switch gears and into more difficult territory. “Diving Bell” feels forelorn and empty. “I’m not sinking, I’m diving. I’m not sinking, I’m diving into you.” Ouch. I felt that one.
“Guest House” and “Someone You Know” stay on this trajectory. The latter of the two, “Someone you Know” has a real DIIV feel to it and begs the question; “Do I matter to you?”
The final track; “Infinite Reel” closes the album with a funeral dirge. It’s slow and sad but captures the beauty of the process of closure.
Even now, I can’t really get a full handle of just how good this album is. It may end up taking the top spot for my year end list. It’s an absolute gem. If you like Shoegaze and Dreampop; do yourself a favor and listen. Maybe once will be enough, but I highly doubt it.