This post on Dream the Electric Sleep’s Heretics is conveniently timed with the release of their third album, Beneath the Dark Wide Sky, set to release later this month. But back to the business at hand – Heretics. The strength of Dream the Electric Sleep lies in the contrast between the layered, soaring vocals, the muddy hypnotism of the repetitive rhythm section, and in the jarring moments when that carefully constructed hypnotism is suddenly broken. With this pattern operating as the base of Heretics, the band is able to successfully experiment because they can always return to the refuge of that soporific rhythm.

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This juggling of musical part is only made possible by the masterful synergy with which the bad operates. It’s a wonderful thing to hear a band clicking on all cylinders. Listen to the opening of “Utopic”; every instrument plays disparate yet complementary parts. Almost imperceptibly, this section fades back into the captivatingly warm sound created by the keyboards, bass and soft distortion that was introduced in the first two songs. Then, later in the song comes that sudden severance when the guitars rush to the foreground to provide an effects-driven show, before sidling back into the electric sleep.

The first three songs follow this basic formula while managing to have unique personalities as well. The restrained ballad “To Love is to Leave” is the first song to break the pattern. Although it’s a slow burner, it showcases vocalist Matt Page’s golden pipes, and gives the listener a bit of a break from the dense instrumentation of the earlier tracks. That is, until Page yells “This is a song of sorrow / This is the song of my debt” and with that momentous declaration, the electric and bass guitars decide to team up and bash the listener over the head with an exquisite riff that would be the crown jewel on any doom metal album. Over the strength of that magnificent riff, Page screams in ecstasy, keyboards fly, and a solo breeds. For that transition alone, this song is one of the best in the album.

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After that exultation, the band returns to Earth with more traditionally composed songs such as “The Name You Fear” and “Fist to Face”, although they are not without their exceptional moments. Near the conclusion of “The Name You Fear”, the curious interplay between the encompassing bass and the punctuation of the percussion’s pop that forms the hypnotic feeling central to the band’s sound can be clearly heard. “It Must Taste Good” features high-pitched layered vocals over a powerful bass-heavy riff that feels so natural to the band’s sound, it’s a wonder they don’t use it more.

This is a painstakingly composed album. Every song adds its own flavor to the formula, but still manages to stay grounded in the success of the dreamlike melodies that define Dream the Electric Sleep. The sound is consistently dense enough to reveal something new with each listen, but the different elements are separated enough by pitch and tact that the sound does not fall victim to overcrowding. The album is long, clocking in at 74 minutes, but if you’ve got some time to while away, take a nap with Dream the Electric Sleep.



2 Responses

  1. Average2d

    came for the post rock, stayed for the very good rock that reminds me of a modern Yes


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