Monday, 7 October 2013

Graveyard Lovers - Dreamers

Album review by

Never judge a book by its cover, for this isn't some teenage angst goth telling tales of mascara tears running down a headstone where they pledged undying love, adopting the names Bella and Edward. 'Dreamers' couldn't be any further removed for this than I am to Vladimir Putin. Making their size-twelve mark, Graveyard Lovers spit out their statement of intent with the devastating, delectable sonic delight of the crunching 'Manifesto', welcoming us into 'Dreamers'. A deceptively melodic, gentle guitar welcomes us in, then we are hit with the a huge hook to the jaw of pure post-grunge fury executed perfectly, and so 'Manifesto' stamps out its massive mark. Graveyard Lovers quickly show that they have mastered where so many have stumbled, quiet/loud/quiet/devastating. As starters go, there hasn't been a better one for a while.

With a deeper, looser feel, 'Love and Hunger' hits you no less harder, but this time it doesn't rely on sonic intensity for its impact. It does a rare thing in the somewhat limited tapestry of post-rock/post-grunge/post-whatever, in that it flows via your cortex to infect your whole being with the irresistible need to let loose and dance your ass off. This is a king-sized dancefloor obliterator. After the beautiful bludgeoning of the opening one-two, there is a refreshing and deft lightness of touch found in the title-track. It has a joyous organic nature to it that recalls Buffalo Tom or Soul Asylum. Regardless of where it may take you, 'Dreamers' is a sublime and enchanting pop song. After the sunshine high of 'Dreamers', we step into the darkening night with 'From My Window'. It is filled with snapshots of small-town broken dreams; there is an air of introspective melancholy which is reflected in its stately pace. It nearly veers in the dirge-like, but is kept afloat by the song's sheer quality drawing you into it, taking you away in a lucid dream-like state, touching the ethereal but grounding it all with the sober nature of reality.

No less sedate than 'From...', but immediately lighter in its nature, 'Gone Too Far' comes across like some long lost Roy Orbison classic through a 21st century filter. It has the same sense of small-town reality, its harmonica lead recalls mid-era Springsteen melded with the harmonious flashes of The Posies. Then, just when you are feeling that it is a little one-dimensional, we are flourished with a delicious break, lifting us out to the end. 'Blessed are the Ties that Bind' is the albums first stumble. There are some nods to Young, even The Beatles, but it sustains too much of a singular pace to truly grab you. There is some 'Ragged Glory' in the solo, but it comes too late. Only faring slightly better is 'When I get Mine'. It really only holds you due to a shimmering guitar motif, that shines light through the monochrome. We are then hit with a vibe and groove that works so much better in 'Piedmont Blues'. It has a stronger, fresher feel, riding on a hit that is deceptively simple yet intriguing.

By filling 'The Island' with a carny piano and tambourine, it succumbs to a gentle nursery rhyme feel that is beguiling and wistful. Shaking us out of our revere is 'Nameless'. It cleanses you, and before you know it you are revelling in its sheer exuberance; a short, sharp hit of powerpop charm. Distinctly indicating that it is soon time to draw 'Dreamers' to an end, 'You and Me' is a sweet and lilting love song closing out with the refrain "it's you and me against the world". Closer 'Working for the Company' is a cautious tale of having all that society tells you should achieve, but when gaining it there is a sense of hollowness, as it doesn't enrich your soul: "Is it everything you dreamed?". A strong, insightful and empathic end to the album. There are times when 'Dreamers' excites and thrills, grabbing you by its craftsmanship and sheer quality, there are dips, but maybe 'Dreamers' will become one of those quiet gems of an album which you return to in a month or two, and then it delivers something special throughout. It has enough to make me want go back and see what I can find anew.

Graveyard Lovers' website

Stream or buy the album

Catch them live:

Tues Oct 15th, New York, Outlet collective CMJ showcase @ The Bowery Electric
Thurs Decr 5th, New York, Pianos w/ These Wild Plains

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