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Various Artists

Just Like a Daydream: A Dreampop, Shoegaze Compilation

Review by Gary Hill

Dreampop and shoegaze might not be what people think of traditionally as progressive rock, but really, isn’t a lot of very close to what bands like Porcupine Tree do? I’m not saying everything here is prog, but I am saying that a lot of it fits – and that’s good enough for me. The truth is, this disc is quite an intriguing one, although it does suffer a bit from being rather monolithic. That could have been fixed by moving a few of the tracks around to freshen it up a bit, but it’s quite good just the way it is.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Malory - Just Be

There’s a bit of a Radiohead vibe here. I like the bass work and when the vocals join it has more of an 80s texture. This is definitely dreamy type music that’s quite tasty. It gets a more rocking treatment later, but still retains the trippy kind of texture.

Morning Paper - Making You Up
There’s more of an echoey, distant kind of texture here. It really reminds me of some of the trippier music from The Cure.
Airiel – Cinnamon
A real powerhouse, there’s a lot more energy built into this. It’s far more purely progressive rock. In many ways it’s not that far removed from the sounds of bands like Porcupine Tree. The bass driving this is just great and the cut is the strongest to this point. There is a definite 80s vibe to the vocals.
Brother Kite - The Finest Kind
Here’s another that rocks out more. It’s got a soaring, psychedelic rock kind of sound. That’s mixed with a modern progressive rock kind of vibe.
Brief Candles - National Dream Registry
This pounds in with the hardest rocking music we’ve heard so far. It’s a killer jam that seems to combine sounds like the Cure with more modern progressive rock elements. It’s one of the strongest pieces on show and works exceptionally well.
Tears Run Rings - Mind the Wires
Here’s another with more of a rocking texture, but it also has quite a spacey vibe. The effect is sort of like The Cure meets Hawkwind and Porcupine Tree. It’s quite cool.
Crash City Saints - Panic Queen
Noisy waves of sound create a tapestry that lends a Radiohead-like atmosphere to this rocker. It’s among the most “rocking” cuts on show here and is a great tune.
Secret Shine - Oblivion
Rocking out even harder, this one is a killer! It’s also got an infectious vocal line with a lot of old school psychedelia built into it. There are also some layers that call to mind more traditional progressive rock. This might well be my favorite song on the disc.
Joy Bus - Something Wrong Inside
Here’s another hard rocker. This is noisy and quite cool. It’s probably not really progressive rock at all, but it’s still a tasty tune.
Je Suis Animal - Sparkle Spit
Distorted layers of musical waves of sound serve as the backdrop for the female vocals on this number. It’s not all that different from some of the other music here, but works quite well, nonetheless.
Glowfriends - Sensible
The verse is quite Cure-like, but there are other parts of the song that are more typical of modern progressive rock. The female vocals on this cut are a nice element to differentiate it from a lot of the music here, but really the sound on this one is among the most unique of the set.
The Flower Beds - Mean to Me
Another that’s more of a rocker, there’s a real power pop feeling to the opening of this piece. It’s another that’s not really progressive rock in nature, but it does have some links to old school psychedelia (a type of music that, it could be argued, gave birth to progressive rock).
Riot - Flowers at Night
There’s a cool pop meets progressive sort of texture and the bouncy female vocals lend a nice touch. A rather jazzy interlude mid-track is pretty cool.
Soundpool - Do What You Love
There’s a soaring kind of modern rock meets psychedelic and space rock on this number. The vocals (female) have cool, drifting-in-air kind of texture.
In Civilian - Current Therapist
A bit of keyboard weirdness leads this off in a cool way. They work this out into a catchy, bouncy little number that’s quite cool and one of the more unique numbers on show here. It’s probably less prog than some of the other stuff, but it’s also one of the better tracks and has some prog on display within its arrangement. It’s actually one of the most dynamic pieces on the disc.
Thrushes – Aidan Quinn
A hard rocking and spacey sort of jam, this combines a post rock sound with something akin to space meets modern prog. It’s echoey, noisy and intriguing.
Fauns - Lovestruck
Elegant noise meets space music in this tasty number. It’s not all that different from a lot of the stuff here, but it’s also incredibly cool.
Ascending - Out of This Place
An echoey piece of sonic beauty, this is an instrumental that works extremely well. It’s one of the most purely progressive rock cuts on show. It moves very slowly, but it’s incredibly cool.
 
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