Dream On, Dreamer

Heartbound

Written by: BL on 18/09/2011 05:05:28

I've probably heard more than enough current electronic/symphonic driven post-hardcore in recent months to know that we aren't going to run into short supply of the stuff any time soon. Dream On, Dreamer from Melbourne, Australia are no exception to the rule with their Rise Records debut (anyone notice how literally everything I've been reviewing of late is from Rise Records...?) "Heartbound". I listened to their last EP "Hope" a couple of times and suffice to say it wasn't anything I had not heard before nor anything that really evoked strong emotions - pleasant but typical melodic lead guitars, a bunch of breakdowns, some decent singing and screaming and the odd use of electronics and orchestral elements to augment the songs to sound bigger and more grand. In other words, they had a pretty strong In Fear And Faith vibe about them, which wasn't entirely a bad thing, and there were small pockets of ambition and promise hidden behind all the generic outer components. "Heartbound" in many ways is more of an extension than a breakthrough leap in those respects.

"I" is the introduction which seemingly has little purpose other than to set up the following track "Yourself As Someone Else". I would have strongly preferred both to be combined into a single song as the latter doesn't sound right just starting without the former. That and one of the things that always bothers me is when an album appears as ten songs, but is really only nine or less (too many guilty names to give these days) with an interlude. Small nitpicking aside, "Yourself As Someone Else" is a rather run of the mill first real song but not all bad. While the way the ringing guitar melodies do a few quickfire exchanges with breakdowns backed by some nice orchestral samples give off welcoming vibes for genre enthusiasts who like this stuff, it doesn't do much to shake the feeling that its the same old drink you like at the start of a night in town but at a different bar. The vocals are decent and utilised appropriately, but they're nothing special either. Marcel Gadacz's screams has all the different tones you'd expect and while bassist Michael McLeod's singing is pleasant and smooth, it's not as nearly characterisable as voices like Shayley Bourget from Of Mice & Men or Kellin Quinn from Sleeping With Sirens.

Tracks like "Downfall" employ very few new tricks up its sleeves. There's a pretty heavy breakdown to begin, some aggressive verses, generic choruses, and even small amounts of dubstep - it's all remarkably unremarkable although thanks to the production has a finish that makes it fairly listenable. "For What You Believe In" however, is the first time where the band starts to shine. The song comes off as more organic than mechanical thanks to the more mature song writing, letting the melodies flow for longer and the different vocals playing off each other to create a semblance of atmosphere and urgency. "Blinded" and "To The Lost" have even more improvement with a stronger melodic emphasis on just about everything, and heralds the beginning of the better last portion of the album. The buildups sound better here, the guitars are more vibrant and the vocals get catchier and more genuine. The outro crescendo of the latter particularly enjoyable due to the good singing vocals and delicately layered sample usage. "Come Home True Love" similarly has probably some of the best melodic parts on the album featuring simple yet great lead guitars and a short but memorable one time chorus/clean vocal passage. Lastly, "Lifestream" closes the album on a high note by exemplifying all that was great about the last three tracks. It's more patient than ever before, working from the ground up slowly, tearing itself down with a fair amount of emotion, then building it up again over and over.

When I look back, I suppose "Heartbound" doesn't take enough steps in the right direction as one could have hoped, suffering from a lot of the usual problems the genre has a habit of producing sadly. However to their credit, Dream On Dreamer manage not to mistep enough to fall into the abyss of total mediocrity and anonymity either largely because of how much better the album gets as you work towards the end. I enjoyed the melodies, the singing, and the lyrics at those moments enough to listen to those songs quite a few times actually, more than I expected to at first. The music here feels like it definitely works better when it tries to be more honest and sentimental - just need a lot more of it next time.

7

Download: To The Lost, Come Home True Love, Lifestream
For the fans of: In Fear And Faith, Confide, A Bullet For Pretty Boy, The Amity Affliction
Listen: Facebook

Release date 09.08.2011
Rise Records




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