Considering the freakishly good weather the UK is currently having, Weird Dreams couldn’t have timed their album release any better if they tried. The East London four-piece’s debut album, entitled Choreography, is the perfect accompaniment to a sunny day, with its effervescent guitars and quirky beats drenched in wistful Beach Boys-esque harmonies.
The quartet, who find creative inspiration in the weird and terrifying dreams of frontman Doran Edwards, have created a great deal of hype since releasing two EPs of hazy lo-fi noise – including their debut on cassette for drummer Craig Bowers’ own imprint Sleep All Day records.
While Weird Dreams are not exactly pioneering a new sound – their penchant for other ’60s and ’70s acts such as The Tammys and T. Rex is clear throughout the album – there is certainly a lot more to the quartet than what first meets the eye. If you are able to part yourself from the gloriously summery riffs for one moment, you will find that the band are fond of dark lyricism that is not necessarily in keeping with their sound.
“I wanna to feel the back of your hands/ I wanna feel demoralised/ why don’t you force me to say it baby/ I love the way you hurt me/ hurt me so bad,” sings Edwards over the top of a guitar hook on Hurt So Bad. It’s an interesting combination and it sets Weird Dreams apart from similar bands (The Drums spring to mind).
Holding Nails, released as a single at the end of 2011, is a more straightforward affair, which rests on shimmering guitar riff that is essentially the musical equivalent of a leisurely stroll along the beach. While Little Girl is a perfect pop song, which – if possible – sounds even more laid-back and chilled. It’s clear to see how the mutual love that both Edwards and Bowers have for The Beach Boys and filmmaker David Lynch permeated Choreography – with the former evident in the band’s sound, while the latter’s presence can be seen in the album’s dark undertones.
There is a lot to like about Weird Dreams’ debut, with the quality rarely dipping during the first half of the album. River Of The Damned returns to the authoritative acoustic strum that opened the album on Vague Hotel, while Suburban Coated Creatures is a beautifully crafted track, which combines several layers of sound with jostling guitars to marvelous effect.
However, Choreography is not faultless. The top-heavy opening, with several of the best songs coming at the start of the album, leaves tracks such as 666.66 and Velvet Morning feeling rather aimless and cut off. That’s not to write off the entire second half of the album, mind; Summer Black is a punchy guitar number with a catchy chorus, while Michael features a prominent lurching guitar infused with the energy of the album’s opening salvo.
For the most part, Choreography is a highly impressive debut LP. There are some weak links, but they are only left open to criticism because the rest of the album is so strong. The quartet may not be as clean-cut and marketable as The Drums, but on this evidence they will have much more staying power. It’s an accomplished debut album that lays the foundations for a very bright future.