Review Summary: Davey Havok and the No Doubt crew deliver on a solid, retro record. Even if it's a bit top-heavy.
When I first heard the news of the Dreamcar supergroup last year, I actually wasn't too surprised. An 80s new-wave revival group in the spirit of Duran Duran or A-Ha seemed like a natural progression for Davey after hearing some subtle 80s influences in AFI's self-titled record (The Blood Album), as well as his other side project Blaqk Audio. After listening to the album, I can tell that this is music that these guys have wanted to play for years.
I was surprised to see that all four singles were stacked on top of one another in the first half of the album after the opener "After I Confessed". This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as listening to the first five tracks is an absolute blast. Tracks like "Kill for Candy" and "All of the Dead Girls" sound like candy-coated AFI, and "On the Charts" is so funky that you can't help but tap your foot along with it. The bright, uplifting mood of these tracks is absolutely infectious.
Unfortunately, the album loses steam after the promising build-up in the sixth track "Ever Lonely". The chorus doesn't pack the punch like the previous tracks did and it was quite a let-down. Most of the tracks afterwards are pretty forgettable. However, Dreamcar knows how to craft an awesome 80s soundscape, and so when you get to a track like "Slip on the Moon", the mood of the song matches the title perfectly. The record gets a bit more steam back in the closers "Do Nothing" and "Show Me Mercy", which are a bit more catchier and energetic.
Despite the disappointing middle of the album, the production as a whole is just fantastic. The mixing on here allows every band member to shine. Davey gets his crooning moments in "All of the Dead Girls", bassist Tony Kanal gets his sick bass groove in "On the Charts", guitarist Tom Dumont gets his jam on in "Born to Lie", and so on. No instrument on this record is left out, and the synths are also just right and not too overpowering.
If this record piques your curiousity because you're either an AFI or No Doubt fan, I'd say give the singles "Kill for Candy", "On the Charts" and "All of the Dead Girls" a try, as well as "Slip on the Moon" so you can get a feel of what the album is like when it slows down. Overall, this is a pretty solid first effort and I'll look forward to seeing where Dreamcar go from here.