Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Spin the Outside - Only In Dreamland

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk

Dreams can be funny things and the definition that's often given to "dreamy" music uses words like "woozy", "hazy" and "ethereal", all of which dreams can be. Think about it though: when you dream is it all angelic voices and floating around on clouds listening to Beach House and Sigur Ros? Probably not. Dreams can make no sense, they can be disturbing, they can be flashbacks to another time and they can be bizarre situations where, in the cold light of day, nothing fits together. Dreams aren't a constant and they aren't always bliss. The music made by Spin The Outside might not be confusing or harrowing, but like dreams, it flits about, it's not all the same style and it isn't a constant. So maybe this duo are closer to what really should be labelled dreampop.

Take their chosen stage names; Mr. Fussy and Citizen Zebra, those are bizarre and from the outside seem to have no rational explanation, much like dreams. Plus their latest album is called 'Only In Dreamland', it even includes songs that fit your regular dreampop definition and many of these have titles that fit the bill, but it features more besides and while the variation isn't wild, it's definitely there. Some of the more regularly defined tracks could include the soft electro-pop of 'Adrift', the similar but airier 'I Thought I Could Fly' (one of the better songs here), this is followed by 'In The Morning' another high point that's made from a simple acoustic song with effects added to give depth and nice instrumental break, and final track 'Mi'kmaq' is essentially an ambient soundscape. So if it's the traditional definition that you're after, you can find it. They can "do" dreampop.

Spin The Outside break from this format on many occasions: 'When Daniel Sleeps' brings a touch of drum and bass and sounds confused, like a dream, but works; the jittery beats and clean production on 'Green Fairy' place it close to Morcheeba or some of the less fervent Groove Armada material; 'Somewhere In Dreamland' is nearer to standard singer-songwriter fare, minus the guitars; 'High Hopes' is an indie/funk/pop tune; 'The Alluvion' is a dubby, cosmic journey, much like 'Halcion Fields' later on; we get an uptempo piece of retro electro-pop on 'She Talks In Her Sleep' complete with vintage-sounding synthesised brass. 'Only In Dreamland' is a consistent album in terms of quality and none of the songs fall short, the only thing that's lacking are any real big stand-outs. That said, it's not an album you'll nod off to.

Spin The Outside's website

Stream or buy the album

For more news, reviews and downloads follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter