Friday, 16 August 2013

Album review:The Lucid Dream – Songs of Lies & Deceit

(Holy Are You Recordings)

  On their debut Songs of Lies & Deceit this Cumbrian four piece take on a vein of noise infused psychedelia that informed influential bands like Spacemen 3 and Ride bringing together melodic song writing with the kind of distortion that threatens to derail a song but never quite does. With a name like The Lucid Dream you might expect this to tap into some of the sleepy, stoner vibes of the sixties but the songs here are sharp and focused for the most part, even if they do give in to extended rock freak-out moments from time to time.  
  How's Your Low When You're Low Alone start things off. A simple rock song led by some energetic stomping drums and some big garage rock riffing interspersed with wah pedal abuse before Glue (Song for Irvine Welsh) continues with the straight forward riffs and ups the ante even further, with guitars buried under their own effects dominating the mix as the vocals desperately repeat 'I'm a broken man' delivered with a Stooges-like attitude. A Mind At Ease Is A Mind At Play rushes along at a frantic pace coming across as a track A Place To Bury Strangers could have written while Love in my Veins has some big hooks in it recalling a certain kind of 1990s brit-pop swagger that hasn't been around for a while. Despite its psychedelic leanings, Songs of Lies & Deceit never strays into the territory of obvious meandering solos and simple sixties era pastiche, maintaining a focus and drive throughout, though it does fall short with the lyrics.
  Some of these lyrics can border on cringeworthy, often playing on cliché but sometimes taking it a bit too far. Lines like 'Girl, you are the sweetest thing I ever seen' stand out in a clunky manner. Still, the album is redeemed by songs like Heartbreak Girl, channelling Ronnettes style sixties girl group pop to good effect, though the constant tempo changes don't sit so easily, giving the effect of two or three different songs being jumbled together. Throughout the record vocals are covered in reverb but rarely to the extent that you can no longer make out the lyrics, instead making reference to the walls of sound from Phil Spector productions. They sound confident in these songs with their straight forward, no nonsense approach imbued with a punk rock energy. Its delivered with an appreciation of their influences and enough earnestness to hold it all together, especially when they get that balance between melody and noise just right.

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