Weird Dreams Choreography(Tough Love) Buy it from Insound
The usual argument that’s put forth to dismiss a standard four piece guitar format tilts between these: either their ideas are distributed too broadly across the map, or they’re a blatant facsimile of a pioneering band that should remain better left untouched. Yes, it’s tough to change the musical landscape with a clever hook or a guitar crunch these days. And in this age of immediacy, what was once thought of as a crowning example of superiority becomes a mirror image with a young, highly skilled replicator. It isn’t a willing rejection against an outmoded idol with its contemporary counterpart, but rather a case of a listener responding to what is within his or her reach.
Specifying a rock group as an innovator among a field of plenty becomes a rather redundant exercise, even laughable to some. It may have taken less than half a decade to stretch out pop music as far as it could, but the need to stand out is more imperative than ever before – we’ve reached a point where the imitator imitates imitation, sifting through an index section of influences that’s even longer than the actual thesis itself. That lack of history, of not knowing how to put your finger on anything too specific, is actually what has inspired today’s most challenging compositions. And that’s really the best way to approach Weird Dreams – the East London outfit are skimming through the pages of rock n’ roll with a certainty that some of what they are implying in their sound is or has been worthy of note at one time or the other.
Who knows what inspired Weird Dreams to come up with the exemplary opener Vague Hotel – it starts with a brash acoustic strum straight out of a Kinks tune with handclaps and a hard-charging floor tom thump, applying force until it unexpectedly ricochets back and forth between reverb-laden strings and chiming, propulsive jangle. If they didn’t make it clear enough that Choreography is meant to be a pop record, Hurts so Bad circles at constant speed with an insouciant merry-go-round harmony that, when listened to carefully, actually underlines a relationship that functions when subjected to the ecstatic pleasures of masochism. The honey-eyed Holding Nails follows with that same mid-tempo shimmer of their contemporaries Spectrals and Beach Fossils but with more of a bite to it, ending on a coda that isn’t afraid to stress the same melody with a hearty solo and gives it a romantic closure. The band does find a common ground with recent jangle pop revivalists, but they replace the usual laissez-faire of the genre with a rich, full-bodied recording that strays away from loop-based composing or ad-lib garage primitivism.
The adequacies of a proper studio actually make Choreography an exceptionally fierce indie pop record. It is not the making of one bedroom recorder emulating five poorly tuned instruments, or a scantily resourced DIY’er that tries to shout louder than the rest of the ninety nine percent. Weird Dreams carry themselves out in perfect unison with that age-old principle of conjoining all songwriting elements with the same level of thinking. It really harkens back to those big-sounding major label alternative records, in which every instrument was accentuated with brusque clarity – the psych pop stomp of Faceless sets off at a quick pace like a Deerhunter record with all the melodic intricacies plastered right in front of the mix, including a beguilingly thick bass slap and an abrasive riff borrowed out of Lockett Pundt’s arsenal. 666.66 is another pop gem with a succinct song structure; this time, a militant drum fill announces a battle that quickly turns severe with a hard-driving rhythmic base. Again, they’re giving salute to the contemporary torch bearers of present day.
To give the frantically elated pacing a gasp of air, Choreography also interweaves a triad of slower tracks that give a heightened sense of suspense to its blissfully sinister mood – Velvet Morning does recall the Verve (both in title and song) in the way it seeks to impose a muscular rhythm section with a vaguely misty soundscape, while River to the Damned hums and haws with a tambourine-approved acoustic ballad that puts Dorin Edwards’ singing ability to the forefront, with a vocal tonality that closely recalls Gaz Coombes; it’s no coincidence that the reflective disposition and eerie, yet quaint finale could pass off as a Supergrass lost cut. And, of course, there’s the much publicized Little Girl, a fine morsel of sixties pop that embraces an equally lovely chorus and ravishing doo-wop guitar progression that was just meant to be slow danced to.
Choreography could very well be the antithesis to blog-centric drivel that’s usually championed for the the hipper-than-thou crowd that's ready to come into the independent-minded diaspora. And yet it hits many of its soft spots (mind the fact that it sounds very cool), even if it does regress back to that gradually diminishing phase in which guitars were still making an impact. Even the most acclaimed artists of the past decade have either moved on to greener pastures (Broken Social Scene), gone the funk and synth route (TV On The Radio) or have austerely alienated themselves and their audience (Interpol). Weird Dreams makes songs that are anything but timid - they could very well be the next band with major aspirations to inform other bands about the importance of achieving accessibility by revitalizing song traditions. Edwards does state early on that its time to put the guitars down and learn to be a man, but he may need to stick around with it for the time being.23 March, 2012 - 09:10 — Juan Edgardo Rodriguez