Pale Dream | Curse | Self-Released

Local Review: Pale Dream – Curse

Local Music Reviews

Pale Dream

Street: 11.11.2022
Pale Dream = Sigur Rós + The Cure + Pale Waves

Self-identified “lame indie rock band” Pale Dream is a dynamic fivesome originally from St. George now solidly slated in the SLC scene. Trey Hoskins, Mari Ericksen, Michael Hockman, Bray Buell and Nate Harris now make up the band, which was forged between Ericksen and Hoskins in 2018 amid their post–high school youth. Pale Dream dropped their prior EP, Velvet, in 2021 on the back of the 2020 single “blue denim jacket.” Curse marks their sophomore stint in ’80s and ’90s new wave, goth and dreampop sonics. At a sharp and quick nine tracks, Curse is concise and charming, with little excess and a lot of heartedness.  

“Intro” opens the album with on-the-nose, shoegazey ambience à la Brian Eno that melts seamlessly into lilting, melancholy guitar and dreamy vocals on the second track. Heartbreak, nostalgia and the naivete of young romance are themes in the collection and make themselves apparent from the start. Dialectic to its title, Curse is full of sweet, sometimes innocent lyrics with a touch of harsh realism that verges on nihilism. Imagery evocative of chilly morning coffee cups and post-breakup bedriddenness abounds. 

The album is not merely dour, however, being rather nicely balanced in its toothsome bitterness. Midway through the LP, “Nervous” picks up the pace and proves that Pale Dream have genuine guitar-playing chops. The vocal dyad highlighted on that track evokes an anxious dialogue between conflicted lovers. Whimsical sounds of (perhaps) an omnichord or another kitschy, cheap, electronic toy instrument in “Please Take My Hand” lend a charming and playful innocence to the track, a clever detour from its predecessor. 

The unexpected underdog “Love Letter-Demo” shines bright as a standout tune with a stripped, lovely melody and Hoskins’ sweetly sad, echoing vocals. I loved this one enough to add it to two extant playlists in my beleaguered, overburdened Spotify almost immediately. The title track brings in an electronic, dark ambience that bent my ear at the beginning and sets a solemn, reflective tone to the track thereafter.

The lovelorn overtones of Curse feel a little tiring towards the last act, although the brevity of the LP remunerates that energetic draw to a significant extent. Some tracks melted into the background softly enough to be pleasant, palatable evening treats. Other tracks stood out and shined melodically and vocally, making this humble album worthy of your time. There’s glimmers of this band being sonically skilled and poetically driven enough to draw unique attention in the local scene (and perhaps beyond). Most relevant, Curse would be a perfect post-heartbreak binge that would likely make the listener feel not so alone in their loneliness. –Paige Zuckerman



Read more reviews of the newest rock bands:
Review: Endless, Nameless – Without Living
Review: Billy – Nomates Cacti