At the Boathouse, 2000 maybe?

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dream Shake, "Dream Shake"; Ethereal Familiarity

Everything that's old is new again and that can be a good thing, especially when it has an original twist. Dream Shake's self-titled debut reminds me a little of The Jesus & Mary Chain and sometimes Lush while remaining original throughout. The music has a very dreamy quality mixed with old school rhythms and guitar which add an undercurrent of punk that occasionally breaks the surface. It's a good album and imminently listenable for almost any mood. This is the sort of album that for some will become like a friend and a tether to the period in one's life where they first heard and loved it. It sits with you, it resonates, and it feels familiar at the first listen, while sharing unrealized depth with subsequent plays.

It also has a fun and offbeat side that's more to do with the artist that the music, though it does manifest in the lyrics. All of the songs are named for female characters in media and pop culture. It might be an added bit of fun to try to figure out or debate with your friends which characters the songs are named for. "Buffy" is an obvious gimme and I'll go out on a limb and guess that both "Deanna" and "Beverly" came from "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

As concept albums go, this offering from James Nee, Dream Shake's prime mover, is pretty original and more fun than most. It also allows him to write about things he cares about without apology and without having to wedge them into some tortured multi-movement or act structure. It's a good, chill listen with a party game built in. It's also an interesting reflection of our increasingly media-centric culture. I listened to it straight through twice, which I seldom do, and have gone back to it and thought about it repeatedly since. The album is out today on the Frenchkiss label and you can preview some of Nee's work, including "Buffy" here. If you like breezy male vocals and alternately ethereal and bright, driving guitars, I recommend it. 4 out of 5 Whatevers.

For a little extra fun please login or follow this blog and comment with your guesses about which characters the songs are named for.

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