Kranky have long ruled as the primary designators of space in sound. For what seems like a millennia the label has delivered some of the finest performers of the long and weird from Stars of The Lid, to Lichens, Windy & Carl, Atlas Sound and many many more. To continue the list would be like writing the lineup for arguably the greatest night on valium the world has ever known. Today, Kranky continue their mission at the helm of their misty ship to bring the world the greatest in fuzz and fog - which brings us nicely to Implodes's second album, Recurring Dream.
The record kicks off with ‘Wendy’, a short synthy introduction that surely stands as an opening homage to Mrs. Carlos - the one and only. Wasting no time at all Implodes bring something to the table that's not often found displayed by their label-mates: a beat and a pulse. ‘Scattered in the Wind’ rides along on a straight engaging drumbeat with ghostly vocals and a guitar line that leaves the mouth hanging from its hinges (this happens a lot, so guitarists might want to grab a tissue).
‘Sleepyheads’is another fuzzy brooder reminiscent of early M83 or Team Ghost and sounds as though Kranky regular Bradford Cox is assuming the vocal duties; whether or not this is the case, it is good. ‘Necronomics’is a shoegazing piece which carries a bass-line reminiscent of The Cure while overall more closely resembling my bloody valentine, with rich bubbling synth lines replacing the guitar.
At many points on the record its vast range of influences become apparent. Often, acts like The Cure that are not necessarily obvious on the surface to Tangerine Dream or Mogwai: all artists performing music in their own right with no real business being together until now. Similar moments lie across in the album in the form of continuing references to the great and the gone: ‘You Wouldn't Know It’screams The Jesus & Mary Chain or A Place to Bury Strangers, whilst ‘Melted Candle’seems to carry UNKLE in the heavier days of War Stories, perhaps. At this point it's worth mentioning that although the sonic fingerprints of many great artists lie all over Recurring Dream, it is in no way a criticism of Implodesbut rather quite the opposite: as each of these ear tickles are mere memories in moments of musical glory we all look back to, and remember fondly through the group's own form of nostalgia and reinvention. But then, the album is called Recurring Dream…………
A true moment of genius is ‘Ex Mass’, by far the centrepiece of Recurring Dream, with its excellent vocal delivery and frankly mind-blowing Mark McGuire- or David Gilmour-influenced guitar line that actually caused my girlfriend to scream "THAT GUITAR!" amidst everything… needless to say, the track was played about three times a day for most of the week. Through everything it seems to stand as the defining moment in the record that draws all the power and strength of the group and defines it in a single instance. The beauty of the piece is its reluctance to fall into repetition, whilst revisiting a melody or an idea just once or twice more at any time - it holds the perfect pace and feels completely uplifting and inspiring; like watching the sun rise from the top of a mountain.
Recurring Dream is an easy record to take in, it's a dream to write about and it's a delight to pass on to others. It is a rare instance that a record can be totally engaging from start to finish without feeling pushed or try-hard…. in this Implodes seem to have been lifted out of the days of the concept album a-la Pink Floyd or Hawkwind, where everything plays in a context of its own and part of the total idea encapsulated by the collection. However, the record does not sit in the past, or quite up in today's modern clatter and bang of bleeps, bloops and jangly guitars - no, this record feels timeless, like an old classic dug up by your older brother as an example of those guys who were "way ahead of their time." Perhaps it's that Implodes have simply taken in what's great about music today and merged it with their influences, or perhaps it's just that they have a solid and refined vision of themselves and their music already by their second album… it's possible, in fact, it's quite likely. In no time at all (or what seems that way) you're left floating on by though the serene Prisms and the Nature of Light and finally literally at the Bottom of a Well wondering just how to get back to the top, to play the record again.
Recurring Dream is out on Kranky NOW and you'd be an idiot to miss it.
<iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/63088303?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&color=ffffff" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="https://vimeo.com/63088303">Scattered in the Wind by IMPLODES (film by Lori Felker)</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/lorifelker">Lori Felker</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>