Tuesday 27 November 2012

Dressed Like Wolves - Heaven Is Just Memories, Of A Place I Used To Know

Album review by KevW

The first we knew of Thornaby (north-east England for you non UKers) band Dressed Like Wolves was from their contribution to a split EP with fellow northerners By Toutatis, and it was clear then that there was talent at work, and more than that; while the grounds of the UK are currently saturated with water because the water table is so high that it will take weeks, if not months to clear, the UK music scene is undergoing a similar fate with blokes and acoustic guitars. They wash through our streets, disrupt transport and are generally pissing everyone right off. What's more, it could take months for this flood to subside too. Except for people like Dressed Like Wolves. While the costly flood damage is being cleared, it's worth remembering that water is essential for life. And likewise, blokes with guitars can also be an incredibly useful tool for humanity.

With songs written by Rick Dobbin and aided by band mates Daniel Allen and Matthew Brown, Dressed Like Wolves have taken various battered, out of tune instruments (essentially whatever fell into their hands) and used these to bring some intricately delicate songs to life. And delicate is the operative word; where most of the world is compressing the living hell out of their music to make it louder, more powerful and generally upping the likelihood of rupturing an eardrum, 'Heaven Is Just Memories...' is an album so natural and soft that it feels like finding a tranquil desert island whilst being lost at sea in a raging storm. The sheer tenderness of these songs is what demands your attention; those who shout loudest are rarely the ones worth listening to, it's the subtle messages that often contain the most power.

This is an album of such fragility that you daren't breathe on it for fear of it collapsing like a house of cards, and you sense it was created in much the same careful and steady handed way. Isolating individual tracks almost seems futile and rather like defeating the purpose. Heartfelt needn't mean horribly cheesy and earnest, and these songs are nothing if not heartfelt, that superb voice carrying each one as carefully as if it was the most valuable and brittle object in the world. It's not an album to skip through or pick highlights from; it just doesn't work that way. Of course anyone who's after music with some clout or something to give them an aural caffeine boost will be left cold. However, anyone looking for a haunting and beautiful world to get lost in for half an hour or so will instantly fall in love.

Dressed Like Wolves' website

Stream or buy the album

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