The Dream Tapes
Dead Ends and All My Friends
The Dream Tapes = Two Door Cinema Club + Weezer
Ogden indie-rockers, The Dream Tapes, offer an accessible, summer-festival, pseudo-classic sound and a nearly wholesome, inoffensive finesse. Dead Ends And All My Friends opens with a weirdly Brian Eno–esque ambient demi-track with airplanes aloft and a single guitar chord that slides stealthily into the beginning of track two “Rolling Out of Bed.” Slightly blunt, off-key vocals (cleverly evocative of Rivers Cuomo) permeate, with a minor risk of feeling overplayed at times. The mix of the album feels curious, as the vocal and lead guitar tracks are uncomfortably forward and distracting to the rest of the arrangement across the entirety of the eleven tracks. This is especially notable in songs with moments of electronics or other flourishes that become subdued by the apparent imbalance.
Skilled and spumante guitar licks with a lovably retro, early-‘60s, California beach-rock vibe are consistent throughout the collection. Lyrics are relatably modern and juxtaposed with an undoubtedly nostalgic sound, and fairly innoxious with small exception to brief drug references (albeit to substances both increasingly legalized and normalized).
Dead Ends is marked with a couple instrumental offerings that partly sound fit for ye olde sock-hop, yet interspersed with little moments of synths and post-‘80s ambience. “Burnout” refreshes the collection with an acoustic guitar, a much needed respite from the tautology of the dominating electric guitar work, skillful as it is.
The Dream Tapes may be shooting themselves in the proverbial foot with the appropriate title of Track 9 “Hum Drum,” as their sonic personality has overplayed itself by the end of the album. The final track, “Halfway,” is actually most proximate to what this band appears to offer with a bit more distillation. There are heaps of indicators that this local foursome have ample talent, and just as many beacons that they have growth to pursue in order to best embody their abilities. –Paige Zuckerman