May 24, 2012 Issue #41 - Yeasayer
Weird Dreams aren't quite as odd as they make themselves out to be, despite a casual reference to "666" or naming a jaunty little tune "River of the Damned." Choreography is an album that owes its very existence to the twin pillars of The Beatles and The Beach Boys, the kind of retro jangle-pop people listen to when reminiscing about the glories of summers past.
But before one starts flinging the twee label all willy-nilly, it's important to note that Weird Dreams never apply cute for cute's sake—even if wobbly tape effects and handclaps dust the album's 12 songs. This is work imbued with slippery sophistication, as evidenced by standout track "Suburban Coated Creatures." It effortlessly flows between several movements on the back of shimmering multi-track guitars, pointing to a life for the band beyond the parameters of teenage angst. Of course, there's still a token love song (what would any retrotastic pop release be without one?). "Hurts So Bad" breaks crisply from the gate, floating like a butterfly on a bed of pounded percussion and stinging like...well, a lovesick teenager who just discovered Twin Peaks. It is however, a catchy ride, transforming lyrics about romantic masochism into a sing-along-worthy refrain.
There's a feeling that Weird Dreams is in a hurry to get somewhere. Attempts to slow down their inherent perk, such as the meandering title track or the rippling "Velvet Morning" feel rushed—as though the band is trying to exceed their own BPM. Perhaps a sign of a genre-specific limitation (does jangle pop come in multiple speeds?), it's an issue that doesn't feel insurmountable. By the time Choreography comes to its summer-slacker conclusion, it's difficult not to hit repeat and let the daydreams roll on. (www.weirdweirddreams.com)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 9/10