Review Summary: A band that has finally grown up
Following the release of the very well recieved White Butterfly, Essex band InMe released their third album Daydream Anonymous, their first on small-time label Graphite Records after being dropped by V2. But that was not the only thing that was to change for this new release.
The band went from the verse-chorus driven structures and rather monotonous songs on White Butterfly to a rather more technical style of song writing for Daydream Anonymous, a factor they would amplify tenfold for their fourth release. A few seconds into the introductory track, Myths And Photographs, we are hit by some rather different guitar work to what the listener is used to from this band.
Gone are the bland, one dimensional riffs that fuelled both their debut and their sophomore release. In there place is fretboard molestation that takes the listeners breath away. And, as you listen further down the tracklisting, it becomes apparent that the band has gone out of their way to make this as breathtaking as possible. Their are very few breaks in the technical nature of this album, and where there are, it becomes sorely missed.
It is not just the guitar work that has changed on this album. Dave McPherson's vocals have become far stronger. From Overgrown Eden to White Butterfly, the change began to take place, but here he really is a force of his own. His voice is somewhat of an aquired taste, being heavily accented, but there is no doubting the talent that Dave possesses. On Myths And Photographs, there are falsetto's, throughout the album there are moments of screaming, and he utilizes a wide range of clean singing across the majority of the album. There are not many vocalists out there like Dave McPherson.
This album also contains some striking contrasts. A great example would be track number two, Far-Reaching. This song is a rollercoaster of styles, but the best moment would be found around 2.30 into the song. The song is going strongly, with the bands usual aggressive, loud style, before, out of the blue, some intense palm muting comes into place, and the song takes a brief, much softer turn, and then, once again, the song turns loud, with a nice scream from Dave. This song is beautifully composed, and is the finest example of the more progressive nature of the band, that would be taken even further on latest album The Pride.
This is a completely unrestrained album, on which the band had absolutely nothing to lose. V2 had dropped them due to poor sales performance, and they were picked up by minor-league label Graphite Records, who were far less restricting about what the band were to do with their music. Overgrown Eden and White Butterfly had to be more commercially oriented, but on Daydream Anonymous, the band had all the freedom they could possibly want, to show off.
As such, the album is a lot more in your face about things than the past two releases. Of course, the aforementioned improvement on the guitar frontier is the best example, but there are others. The songs are a lot louder, and pack more of a punch than much of what came before. Other than a couple of ballads, which have become a trademark of the band, the songs are very overproduced to give them an intensity, and it does work for the style of music they are playing.
Songs such as Cracking The Whip and Far-Reaching go some way beyond just being excercises in technicality, sounding fully formed, and songs that can be easily accessed. They are amongst the best the band has ever put out, with Cracking The Whip having some incredible vocal work, and a great chorus. Far-Reaching has the incredible later section that has already been mentioned, and one of the finest screams from McPherson ever.
Turbulence does a nice job as being a slow song, with some startlingly tight drumming opening it up, as well as having some absolutely beautiful crooning vocals from Dave. This is one of the band's signature ballads, that have been featured on every album. It does not break up the flow of the album, but instead adds to it, bringing with it some real power that is not something to be expected from an album that is primarily about being as technical as the band were capable of.
Thanks For Leaving Me is another ballad with some nice acoustic work, more good drumming, and yet more fantastic vocals. By this point in the album, there should have been at least one blip in the vocal work, or one moment where they are devoid of emotion. Guess again, Dave McPherson actually is incapable on this album of poor vocal work. The lyrics to this song are very well written, and manage to be equal parts optimistic and saddening.
A Toast To Broken Glass has a rather odd souding intro, but is still a perfect song, having some incredible instrumental work from the band, and has an almost Rage Against the Machine feel to it, pounding along like a steamroller, crushing the listener flat. Do i even need to go into detail about Dave's vocals by this point, you should know the drill! This guy is a God in human form.
2nd Jonquil is the only weak point of the album, being the slowest song on the album, and being a very mourning song, but not good in the way of Thanks For leaving Me. It is, instead, the one speck of dust on an otherwise shining window, but it is a big enough one to detract from the score of the album. It does not seem to do anything, and the drumming really is done terribly on here. Only Dave's vocals manage to keep me from skipping this.
This album is an album that is so close to being a perfect 5. I wanted to give it a 5, but 2nd Jonquil is just too poor to give a 5. This album is almost perfect, with some beautiful vocals, and the guitar work just being flawless. It does not indulge in its own technicality, instead focussing on being about the music, with the technical work really just slotting in there of its own accord. This is an incredible album from an underrated band. How V2 must have kicked themselves when they heard this. 4.5/5