I have been having this amazing recurring dream for the past couple of weeks. Said no one ever. It's never a recurring dream about walking through endless green fields underneath a double rainbow with ponies dressed as unicorns; it's never that. It's always you're being chased by whatever the hell scares you the most, seeing your teeth falling, drowning or some other form of minor trauma inducing awfulness. Recurring dreams cause us to dwell upon our respective insecurities and fears, bringing out all that we attempt to keep buried deep down during our waking hours. They summon our darker thoughts, everything we choose not to consciously confront and in that sense, Chicago rock quartet Implodes' sophomore album does a fair job of delving into that darker nocturnal aspect that most people experience at least once in their lifetime.
Recurring Dream is not the album you would expect to find on the pages of Fluid Radio, for the simple reason of it being pretty much a straight forward rock album rather than an ambient/drone/contemporary classical one. That said, it pretty much exists within the experimental side of the website and with the amount of ambition and soundscapey goodness on show in the album, it fits in quite well amongst its peers.
Evident throughout the album is that the band do not shy away from letting everyone know who their influences are. You can tell that the band members are into The Cure and Joy Division as much as they are into Cocteau Twins and Slowdive, love Joy Division and Nine Inch Nails equally with tones of My Bloody Valentine, Deerhunter and White Hills present throughout. We get a refreshing mix of shoegaze, psychedelic rock, new wave, post-punk and a couple of nods to ambient music that exist on the interludes between the more rock oriented tracks without sounding derivative or losing their personality amidst all that.
They very successfully manage to use all these elements without hindering the album’s flow and that’s mainly why Recurring Dream succeeds. Implodes put all these influences to work hand in hand rather than spreading them throughout the album. What you do not get is a compilation of songs that sound all over the place, rather a collection of elements that all work to compliment each other almost perfectly. Their sense and knowledge of dynamics makes the forty five minute experience of listening to the album one that forces the listener’s attention and that never seems too burdening or at all boring. It is not an album that’s made to highlight one or two songs, actually it’s quite difficult to sit down and choose a favourite out of what’s on offer here. It contains something for every mood and every listen will probably reveal a new favourite.
The ambient interludes in themselves are a joy to listen to on their own, tracks like “Zombie Regrets” and “Dream Mirror” are so immaculately executed that one could wonder how good an entire album of that sort of music done by Implodes would sound like, a quality very few rock bands possess. Then when they turn up the pace they excel again in their choices of sounds, the development of the songs, the top tier level of musicianship, the intensity of the whole thing. “Necronomics” treads the shoegazey path until it exhausts it only to blindside the listener and moves into an all out noise and psychedelia only to come back to Earth in a space of less than five minutes. That said, the album’s highlight, the one that has proved itself to be of a slightly higher level than the rest is definitely the E-Bow driven “Ex Mass”, which highlights an affinity for melody and beauty that is almost unparalleled among its fellow tracks. The vocals, the post-rock influenced explosion of sound and the grip that those steady drums have on the listener are just a joy to go through.
Sonically speaking, the way the album is mixed and mastered helps it shine, I personally couldn’t imagine listening to this songs in any different shape or form. All instruments are there, never fighting for space within the frequency spectrum, panned all around to completely immerse its audience within this almost impermeable wave of sound. Cliches have told us that almost every band will flop on their second attempt after a successful debut, with this album, you now have the perfect counterargument.