Review Summary: An epic cinematic post-rock anthem that leaves the listener with a myriad of emotions.
Dreamer on the Run by U137 is indeed an album that is gonna make our mind drift and dream, though you don’t have to worry that it’s gonna do the same with your interest of the album (as it probably did when you listened to the movie the band shares its name with!). Dreamer on the Run may describe your state of mind while listening to it; having a half hour of peace, contemplation and hope…
The album starts with the dreamy melancholic (if not emo) guitar lament of The Poet. As soon as the long piano chords and guitar steps in with the drums, it shift into kind of a smooth but victorious anthem. The kind of song you’ll heard at the climax of a (maybe romantic) movie with a clear cinematic rock influence that is remarkable considering that there are only 2 musicians in the band. This is also a recurrent feeling that we’ll get while listening to the album; the soundtrack-friendliness of the band is palpable and so are the proud and epic feelings that are usually brought up by the keys.
Those sentiments are at their highest point during Sliding Doors, a song that, even if it’s only 5 minutes and a half long, is the longest song on the album. With a more typical post-rock structure of a build-up into an explosion of sound and emotions, U137 compact this type of musicianship into 5 minutes instead of 8 or 10. The result doesn’t reduce the impact of the climax, but instead amplifies its power.
Watching the storm is more of an ambient song with a melodic background leitmotiv that, coupled with the absence of drums, makes it the perfect dreamy escape we were talking about earlier. U137 like to precisely place their songs on the album so it alternates the ambience of the ensemble (Let Me Keep this Memory, Anemone or The Nostalgic Tune, for instance, plays the same role as Watching the Storm). While some post-rock albums may seem almost like a long song, U137 place subtly but carefully some shifts to keep the listener awake and aware. The attention given to the construction of the album is admirable and doesn’t reduce the coherence of the ensemble, thanks to the wonderfully crafted sound and production.
The songs indeed seems to refer to one another all the time. Take The Song Midsummer Field for instance with its plaintive melodic sound of guitar like in The poet, the ambient and spaced out feeling of Let Me Keep this Memory or the impression of hope that emerge towards the end of most songs. It may seem strange to talk that much about the feelings that instrumental music brings to us, but it’s exactly what U137 manage to do on Dreamer on the Run. We see the influences in each song, whether it’s within the band or not, but the duo of U137 always push it a step further, making sure they carve a niche of their own.
The eponymous song is a closer that fits perfectly well the U137 approach; a proud epic post-rock anthem and the last climax of a great album that makes us want to pursue the feelings we felt for the past 30 minutes. At first, we wondered what makes this album different from the myriad of band in the same genre, but we keep coming back to it because U137 delivers diverse emotions strongly and uniquely. This is maybe why we love post-rock so much; at worst, we know what we’re getting, as it’s a clear formula tested and approved. At best, we see some masterpieces that not only transcends the genre, but destroy it. And in the middle, we discover some little miracles that restore our fate into the genre, like U137. Deep Elm Records have a strong sense to discover little gems like this and it’s a pity it haven’t been discussed more. In the meantime, let’s all hope for a new record to broaden their fan base as soon as possible!