Throughout tonight's gig, located in the "arse-end of East London" as one audience member puts it, a video is projected onto the wall behind Weird Dreams. It features two attractive girls laughing and doing strange things with test tubes and a Slinky, played backwards, on a loop. It could be, and probably is, an extract from some creation of subversive film director David Lynch, a cultural figure this rock four-piece with an ear for jangly 1960s melodies have been keen to associate themselves with.
But Weird Dreams are not weird enough to soundtrack any Lynch film. Rather, they do a decent enough job of exploring the same discordant suburbia in their lyrics as Lynch does in his films, and zoning in on certain musical traits that tend to crop up in most Lynch soundtracks. A few sinister lyrical themes here, and layers of shimmering guitar reverb there; it's a curious mix that guarantees the band will prick the ears of anyone who enjoys a dark side to their indie pop.
Tonight sees the band celebrating the release of their debut album, entitled ‘Choreography’, earlier this month. They open with 'Hurt So Bad', a track that's been available on the internet since 2010, but could well have been floating in the ether as a rip from the cassette tape demo of any number of pioneering indie guitar bands circa mid-1980s.
On it, lead singer Doran Edwards sings "I want to feel pushed around, I want to feel the back of your hand, I want to feel demoralised, I want you to force me to say it baby", sounding like a sexually unhinged Brian Wilson. Edwards' vocal melodies are the best thing about the band, and when his voice is allowed to rise above the action behind him, Weird Dreams suddenly wake up.
But, alas, the Beach Boys melodies all too often get lost at sea amongst the colossal drums unleashed from the back of the room. Daubed in tattoos up to his neck, this drummer seems to be singing from a different hymn sheet as the rest of the band, who gently sway while he aggressively gives his drum kit a thoroughly good smashing.
He calms down to provide a measured, marching-beat for '666.66', a song about satanic worship with glossy guitars and woozy melodies. Things quickly become prettily hypnotic, as the Lynch extract replays on a constant loop behind them, while the jangly guitars swirl and the word "six" is harmonised over and over.
In an interview with Clash, Weird Dreams spoke of toting a "progressive nostalgia", and the sleepy pop of 'Little Girl' embodies this entirely. It's seemingly built around three different choruses, each of them catchier than the last, and, like all great pop songs, has a timeless, ethereal quality to it.
But tonight, it's the guitar effects pedal that steals this short show, which serves as something of a taster of a Weird Dreams gig, rather than a full course. Soaking final track 'Suburban Coated Creatures' in retro-reverb, the Rickenbacker guitars again combine together in the melodic climax, and Weird Dreams' hip hypnosis begins all over again.
Published on Clashmusic.com