Friday, May 18, 2012

Weird Dreams

At some point in time (most likely the oh-so-formative 1980’s) a deep, passionate love for plucky, jangly, bittersweet pop was wired into my brain. Not an uncommon story for someone who grew up in the era I did, and certainly plausible reasoning for the explosion of bands with a similarly intrinsic desire for this sound. Several months ago, after a chance sampling of the exquisite track “Little Girl”, the question became not if, but how much, would I love Weird Dreams’ Choreography… This twelve track escape of East London psych-pop is undoubtedly my early choice for Album of the Year, and will be hard to top in this, as yet, fairly quiet 2012. Every track on Choreography lurks with shadowy post-punk cool, while also managing to overflow with pop hooks, engaging harmonies, and cautiously bright guitar work. Songs like “666.66” and “Holding Nails” are gorgeous, radio-ready singles recalling the true golden-era of British new wave. There’s something haunting familiar about “Faceless”, “Michael”, and title track “Choreography” – a sort of intelligent rock flexibility that could have seen them as either long-forgotten Bunnymen B-sides, or seamless staples of the Valley Girl soundtrack. “Vague Hotel” and “Suburban Coated Creatures” are slightly more contemporary bringing to mind the subdued enthusiasm of Let’s Wrestle and the side street romanticism of The Clientele (though both Merge acts, were Weird Dreams from the states, as a point of reference, they’d more than likely find their home on Slumberland or Captured Tracks). “Hurt So Bad” caries on the tradition of feel good songs about masochism, and unsurprisingly “Velvet Morning” is an enjoyable flirtation with shoegaze. “River of the Damned” is quickly recognizable as an experiment in the tranquility of early Shins work, and is the perfect track to repeat as you sit in your car, alone and heartbroken. The aforementioned “Little Girl” is, personally speaking, outright pop perfection – like some kind of glistening mutation of everything irresistible about music, the Wolverine of modern British pop. Not to gush (too late) but for a genre currently overrun with pretenders, Choreography is an absolute standout. Whether or not you’re culturally predisposed to ravenously consume this type of release, I have to think it will leave its mark given the opportunity. 

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