Some years back, Disaster Amnesiac was seriously excited by the music that was coming out of the Alsatian region of France, primarily from groups under the rubric of Le Grande Triple Alliance. A.H. Kraken, the Anals, Pussy Patrol: these bands were exciting to listen to (still are, of course. A.H. Kraken's debut has never left my iPod).
It seems as though a lot of that activity has waned, or perhaps I've fallen out of that particular informational loop. Or, perhaps I haven't. I was delighted to get an email from Yerevan Tapes, advertising their debut release, Morbido, by the Dreams. These guys had me at "featuring members of Le Grande Triple Alliance". As it has been with all releases of the Alsatian Punk ilk, the only thing I could count on, as I clicked on "pay now", was a challenging listen, followed by delight at hearing actual aesthetic quality in contemporary musical production.
Need you even ask if this was the case?
The Dreams are a duo, made up of one male and one female. Their sound, a drum machine-propelled Post-Punk, is rich with references to all kinds of rhythmic styles, from all regions of the world. Despite their lack of a drummer, they enhance their particularly good drum beat programming with tons of percussive accents and colors; this music is danceable and funky, without ever succumbing to blatant style copping. One might hear elements of East Indian dance music, or African tribal sounds, but one never gets the sense that the Dreams are being too obvious. Thick, dub-ey bass lines propel most of the tunes' melodies, which are scratched out on cheaper-sounding guitars. While the melodic element takes a somewhat subservient role to the rhythmic element of the Dreams' music, that is not to say that the songs here are tuneless. They are not. The listener will find plenty of hummable tunes, even as they stop dancing around to the deep grooves on this cassette.
As with all other salvos issues from Le Grande Triple Alliance, great enjoyment can be taken from the vocal style of the Dreams. Their declamations, whether in their native French, or English, or, as on one tune, dubbed backwards to resemble some obscure Asian dialect, just sound cool. They are never delivered with too much hysteria, but always have the Punk sense of urgency and real human expressiveness.
Morbido's production has a definite "home taped" feel, but the Dreams have clearly taken care to ensure that their sounds are present and listenable on this release. One never gets a sense that it is a slap-dash affair, only that it is an independently produced document, working within the restraints and blessings of that approach.
Hopefully Yerevan Tapes will find more Alsatian Post-Punk to document, or at least make more music by the Dreams available.