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From its distinctly somber opening, "as if by ghosts" haunts the listener with echoes of time lost. Its 10 tracks effectively create the sunshine-through-a-million-clouds atmosphere that the trio has honed over their 4 year existence. Like an epic journey through a sleeping graveyard, "as if by ghosts" is a grey, but pastoral scene.
Drums are the melody, guitars are the ghosts, and imagery is the feeling that drives dreamend's newest. The forty five minute trip flows with the grace of a 23 year-old growing a sepiatone beard. The magic of this collection of songs lies in the weathering of what was.
To conjure the spirits of discarded memories, each album is packaged with an authentic, completely unique photograph from the early 1900s, squared off by a simplistic, lunch-bag frame. The selfdom of each exclusive cover, paired with the apathetic stills of moth-eaten American life, best suits the album's integrity.
"as if by ghosts" feels like a beautifully focused record on such seemingly unfocused themes as those. Ryan says he is 23, but i know he's either 25 or 22. -tom (black moth super rainbow)
-) 'The sickening pang of hope deferred' on Graveface Records.
-) 'Dreamend' on Graveface Records.
-) 'Stigmata boy' on Graveface Records.
-) 'Preface' split CD with Monster Movie on Graveface Records.
Eclectic Honey's point of view :
The sheer magnitude of the following twelve minutes is enough to blow you away. Dreamend is indeed an apposite description of their sound. The first part opens still in a fantasy world, slowly burning to a crashing midpoint of post-xylophonic-rock, with walls of fuzzy guitar nodding to bands like their US counterparts Melochrome. The second tranche is the hazy coming-to with everything slightly out of focus and blurred, but still waking up back to reality with thrashing guitar, a demolishing bass-line and drums flying around like bullets. The finale is an epic, gentle, swaying math-rock lullaby invigorating in all it's heartfelt warmth and pensive brooding. It's the part where you're still lying in bed and the sun has started creeping in your window, opening up the world outside. Like a truncated version of Godspeed! You Black Emperor they escalate through a catalogue of different emotions right the way through Elipsis, which leaves the listener feeling that they have just witnessed something pretty special indeed.
-) 2004 : 'As if by ghosts...' on Graveface Records.
Almost Cool's point of view :
On their debut split EP with Monster Movie, Dreamend treaded a similar ground as many post-rock bands, but did it with enough flourishes that made me wonder where they would take things next. On their debut album As If By Ghosts, both their songwriting and craft have grown a great deal, making for a near-great album that again treads somewhat similar ground as other groups have done before, but pulls everyting together in a way to make it sound revolutionary at times.
One of the bands that one could draw comparisons to might be Explosions In The Sky (for the lovely dynamic shifts and absolutely huge walls of guitars), but this time around the group has also encorporated vocals and it actually works quite well adding another human layer to the music that many instrumental rock outfits don't seem to want to go near. "Of Ravens And Winds" opens the disc with quiet strums of guitars layered alongside ebowed guitars, and even though the vocals feel a bit fragile, it serves as a nice lead in to the release as "Ellipsis" takes similar elements and piles on chimes and a mountain of shimmering guitars.
In fact, the first half of the album feels like one slow crescendo as "Four Days In May" marches on towards something more potent yet, closing out with great multi-tracked vocals and another haze of guitars before "The Almighty" wastes no time in laying waste with a blistering full-on attack of pummeling drums and guitars. From there out, the group mixes things up a bit and fortunately succeeds most of the time. "The Old House & Its Occupants" is yet another in a long line of quiet-to-loud guitar-led instrumental rock tracks, but damn if the group doesn't make it sound invigorating once again.
At their worst, the group can be accused of sounding like a Smashing Pumpkins b-side and they stumble a bit during the midsection of the album with the vocal-led "Can't Take You" and the odd "Slide Song" (both of which try something a bit different and don't entirely succeed). And so, the group is at their best when they let their instruments do the talking, as on the maelstrom to quiet tempest "10 Guitars From Salem." I have to say that I'd also be slacking if I didn't mention the lovely packaing, which is again hand-made, including an inset photograph that is unique to each individual CD. An excellent debut from a group who's managing to do some original stuff in a very crowded genre.
A few tracks are to be downloaded here.