Review Summary: I should have known then. Now I don't have the will to drag this on and on on and on...
We here at Sputnikmusic listen to too much music. As much goes without saying. Is it really possible to listen to 10 new albums in a week and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate each one? Unless you can physically be listening to music every second of every day, it’s just not realistic. By no means am I deeming this practice of mass digestion atrocious and necessitating change. I am merely saying too much music is not always a good thing. Case and point: Happy Body, Slow Brain’s Dreams of Water
. An album that is woefully underappreciated and disregarded, Dreams of Water has been described as “Dance Gavin Dance's Happiness album, but a bit more mellow” on our very own Sputnikmusic. While this description merits some appreciation, it is also at the same time very misleading. Sure there are pulsing and intertwining guitars underneath sailing clean vocal melodies, but Dreams of Water is an entirely different being than any Dance Gavin Dance record.
With an album such as Dreams of Water it does not take long to determine the focal point. While there is competent instrumentation found, often times Matt Fazzi’s vocals are the forefront of the song. Fazzi, an ex-member of Taking Back Sunday, shines through his 13 meticulously crafted songs. Lyrically, Fazzi is straightforward, often time forgoing ‘deep’ and confusing lines, which serves as almost a breath of fresh air in his genre.
Dreams of Water is not hard to describe sonically. The title nearly says it all. Pretense aside, Dreams of Water sounds as though you are fluidly dreaming, without any cause or need for waking. Through the entire album Happy Body, Slow Brain lead the listeners on a journey into a dreamlike state, never once asking their audience to wake. To create such an effect, the band effectively implements electronics, keyboards and synthesizers. Opener Everything You Know
, while not an exact microcosm of the sound of Dreams of Water, manages to envelop the very idea of fleeting dreams. Completely devoid of conventional instrumentation, Everything You Know floats along seamlessly. The album progresses in much of the same manner, although as the record progresses, so does the use of said conventional instruments. (read: electric guitar/bass and drums) Soundscapes rely less on samples and electronics and focus more on guitars and drums.
Songs ebb and flow, never once seeming to drag on; song after song flows into each other but never once causing the album to drag. Up Late
features complex drum time signatures under spacy effects ridden guitars, a welcome reprise from the monotonous drumming throughout. Time.
seems to be an exception to the band’s sound. With thick (dare I say) riffing as the main hook, it seems to be put in place to remind the listener of turbulence. That being said Time. manages to be one of the more complete songs on the record, as it encompasses everything found on Dreams of Water. Nearly every song features some sort of melodic ‘breakdown’ while rarely repeating song structure; every song is its own unique creation. Although the album may flow from song to song, that does not mean each song is forgettable. Highlights of the album can be found on nearly every track, be it the clap track of Never Loved
or the beautiful instrumental track The Flight
Where the album does seem to drag on a bit, so to speak is exactly where an album should not drag on. None of the last four tracks clock in at less than five and a half minutes, causing a definite sense of near boredom. But this sense of monotony is broken suddenly and spectacularly through the final track The Bridge
. Similar in sound to Time. The Bridge will surely go down as many listeners favorite track, especially if every track is listened to in order. The overall mood of compliancy and tedium is completely shattered in a climatic album closer.
A valiant first effort, Dreams of Water managed to introduce Happy Body, Slow Brain to the world. Although it is not without hiccups, this album without a doubt is one of the better debuts to be found. Song after song, listeners are keep on their toes, then lulled to sleep, only to be startled back to conscious; Dreams of Water will not disappoint if given a fair chance.