London – Since forming in 2014, Brooklyn NYC and more recently LA-based trio DREAMERS has harvested a healthy fan following and critical approval off the back of constant touring and a run of popular singles, all three of which feature on this titular-challenged debut album, This Album Does Not Exist. Before we all run into corners to form discussion groups to debate the existential nature of that statement, let me say this album asserts a physical presence from the opening chords of the first track and sustains that energy throughout all twelve cuts. Maybe the band never expected the album to happen, but exist it now does, and guitarist-vocalist Nick Wold along with Nelson on bass and vocals and drummer Jacob Wick can be proud of the strength of the song selection here.
The songs are so upbeat and in-your-face that you have to be careful not to take the whole album as a simple joy ride. The opening track “Drugs” is a case in point. Rather than making a case for rampant use of narcotics, “Drugs” takes a swipe at tech-addict Millennials. This dependency culture is all about overdosing on technology and entitlement: “We’re gonna get more ’cause it’s cheap / ‘Cause we’re sheep looking for the rad life / Fast, want it now. Don’t wanna think for ourself / We’re just Millennials.” Musically there’s a touch of Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” about the power chord intro and equally in its strength of put-down. The chorus is a stadium singalong in the making, as well.
The opening momentum is carried through the next few songs. “Never Too Late To Dance” has overtones of Grandaddy in its beginnings but soon takes on a style of its own, while “Sweet Disaster” moves slickly to and from laid-back verses and crashing choruses. The bouncy “Pain Killer” is an ambivalent paean to a woman who can “Fill my lungs / make me beg me for more / keep me numb / she’s a pain killer.” It leads neatly into “Wolves,” which is arguably the standout track alongside “Drugs.” Blessed with a knockout chorus that recalls the early Beatles, even with a trademark McCartney waver on the last line, and a classic indie-rock structure to the verses, “Wolves” embeds itself quickly in the psyche. Musing about how close you get to people you care about until you become like them, Nick Wold adds the killer line: “And if you lie down with wolves / you learn to howl.”
The second half of the album maintains this robust mash-up of grunge, rock, and power pop, with scarcely a blip. Strong hooks rule, if not quite reaching the level of the first half. The spirited “Lucky Dog” comes close with neat lyrics that outline the buzz that follows from shooting too high in the love stakes. “Last Night On Earth” has the makings of another crowd-pleasing anthem. Dreamers comes across as a band that’s paid its dues in former lives. The tightness of the ensemble playing and studio polish of the record underpins a certain confidence and panache that comes with learning its trade through the trial and error of serial live gigs. A bank of readily accessible and memorable tunes helps chase that dream, too.
This Album Does Not Exist is out on 26 August. It is available for purchase on iTunes. Catch Dreamers on tour in the USA from 23 August through to 21 October. Details are on the band’s Facebook page.
Tony’s great passion in life is music and nothing gives him more pleasure than unearthing good, original new music and championing independent musicians. His association with Best New Bands brings great opportunities for this. He also writes for Consequence of Sound and is a judge for Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition.
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