Implodes are aptly named. Recurring Dream – the Chicago quartet’s second album, following 2011’s Black Earth – is undoubtedly noisy. But the record’s sound – lots of bass and treble, very little ‘middle’ – makes it sound strangely distant, as if one is listening to a series of loud explosions taking place behind a thick wall. Rather like My Bloody Valentine, Implodes make music that’s simultaneously heavy and light.
Implodes’ musical forebears are The Cure circa Pornography, early Sonic Youth and The Jesus And Mary Chain at their most confrontational. Scattered In The Wind – Recurring Dream’s second track, following a brief, atonal instrumental – sets the template for a good two thirds of the album. Over an emphatic drum beat and a slow, sparse bassline, a ghostly male voice intones largely unintelligible words, while a series of fuzzy, one-note guitar solos snake their way through the track.
This is dark, dank and foreboding stuff. Tracks like You Wouldn’t Know It are undoubtedly effective in conjuring up a mood of creeping dread, but it’s the type of dread that comes tinged with boredom – rather like the feeling one experiences when trapped on a train platform, awaiting further news of a severely delayed service.
Musical craft isn’t completely absent from Recurring Dream. Amid the multiple layers of fuzz and reverb on tracks like Scattered In The Wind, Sleepyheads and Necronomics, there are pretty vocal melodies. And, occasionally, shafts of light puncture the gloom. Zombie Regrets is the first track to put its head above the album’s murky parapet. It represents Implodes’ approximation of ambient music; the results are pleasingly similar to the work of recently-dissolved electronica outfit Emeralds. Elsewhere, Prisms And The Nature Of Light’s combination of delicately strummed acoustic guitars, wordless vocals and a gradually encroaching buzz tone guitar acts as a rather lovely palliative.
The respite is, however, brief. Immediately after Prisms… comes the closing track, Bottom Of The Well – a typically portentous, slow, heavy number. Its title describes the position the listener feels like s/he’s been left in at the end of this gruelling listening experience.
At 46 minutes, Recurring Dream isn’t an especially long album. But on the wrong day, at the wrong time and in the wrong frame of mind, it can feel like the longest 46 minutes in the history of all time.