Four songs into the ten, and you can tell Dream Eraser is a gem. Details maybe warranted, but when things just click, they just click. The guitars never stay still, constantly bouncing back between introspective shoegaze tinged contemplation to monumental movement riffage that glints like a fish’s scales underneath the moonlight. The band’s sound is sweet, lowkey grisly, and defined by a fading subgenre that doesn’t seem to earn many looks these days.
“Sparrows” opens Dream Eraser up by never sitting still. Bridge after bridge connects various shifts and glistens, and shimmers that sets Matt O’Brien up to deliver just slightly gnarly vocals that add just enough refined grit to the gorgeous fluidity. The entire end result is an endearing and palpable relatability that issues a promise the remaining tracks deliver.
The tri-crossroad nature of the entire album gives the quartet a lot of influences to pull from. Their ‘00s indie alt-rock meets refreshing post-punk meets introspective shoegaze riffage combination elicits the type of feeling of comfortably letting your mind wander wherever. It’s a dreamy landscape that never stays the same, but each shift is as comfortable as the next, but in a wholly different way.
“Shallow Breathing” shows off a tougher side of their overall sound, with its almost raucous percussion lead in, and the stringy needling guitars reminiscent of Walkmen, and Attack on Memory era Cloud Nothings. It carries a heavier weight to it overall, but underneath is still those soft spoken riffs that have more in common with acts like DIIV, than anything else.
Elsewhere “Antenna” walks a fine line of intoxicating whimsy, and smooth bass lines that feel comparable to finding a gorgeous field in a dense forest. It flows well within the parameters of its three and a half minutes runtime getting as much as they can out of it all.
The hooks throughout will burrow themselves into your brain after a while, and I can’t really pick out a weak track out of the ten even if I tried, and while the first half of the album carries a quicker pace, the back end slows things down, nothing too contrasting, but more so akin to winding down before everything closes out with the aptly titled “Fade Away,” which gives us just a little bit of energy to leave everything on a good note. In thinking about criticism, though, all I can really point to is the full runtime. 33 minutes doesn’t seem like enough from these guys, and with only a previous EP to fill in, I’m left clamoring for more, or similar artists.
The balance on this album shines the brightest. It’s easy to be awestruck when you’re caught off guard from something out of the blue, and it having so much nuance it’s not really a surprise, though. Matt O’Brien, Dan Sneddon, Israel Branson, and Ian Miller come with a hefty amount of experience from the likes of Early Graves, Grace Alley, Kowloon Walled City, and Redemption 87. That experience shows itself easily, as well, as all of these seasoned veterans gave us a stellar full-length that contends to be some of the best music out this year.
I had been in a bit of a slump this year with the new releases. I was literally just discussing this with the EIN writers before I listened to Dream Eraser in its entirety. It above all lifted my spirits, and gave me a lot to enjoy, and I’m left grateful for that. I unfortunately missed them when they came through my neck of the woods, but I’m rather certain No Lights will be permanently on my radar if they keep up with the sound they’ve cultivated on this album, and I look forward to their future body of work given the beauty exhibited thus far.