November 06, 2002

Monster Movie/Dreamend "Preface"

A rather dark looking album cover that doesn't betray the music inside. Two bands--one I know, the other I don't--competing for my attention. Ideally, both bands usually share not only a record, but also a similarity in sound, style, or vision. But how does the record actually sound?? CD-split releases kind of force the issue of both bands; when bands did split singles or split albums, you could always simply ignore the other band that you didn't know or like. Can't do that quite as easily--thanks, new technology!

Monster Movie is a band consisting of ex-members of the late, great Slowdive, and over the past two years, Monster Movie have made some dreamy post-shoegaze dreampop. Their debut album, Last Night Something Happened, was a lusciously nice record. That's why I was a bit excited to hear these new songs. "Beautiful Artic Star" was a lovely little song, similar to the style of their debut, but I kept thinking that Ian Masters should be singing it. "Nobody Sees" is interesting, but it sounds like an expanded demo, and doesn't really seem to do much. More bothersome, though, is the fact that these songs, as good as they are, seem to find the band teetering along the fine line between dreampop and goth.

So that leaves Dreamend the heavy burden of saving this single. Luckily, this dark horse of a band has enough strength to carry the entire record. Annoyingly, two of their three songs are simply "Untitled," and a third one is simply "..ellipsis.." Well. Be that as it may, Dreamend make a nice, occasionally noisy, always dreamy brand of instrumental music that reminds me of Lanterna meeting up with Tristiza, which means it sounds like Scenic. I really like the loud, epic guitar ambience thing that they're doing, too.

A good band slips up slightly, yet an unknown band picks them up and carries them to safer ground. That's a good thing. This doesn't change my love for Monster Movie, but it does create an interest in Dreamend, which of course means that this record succeeded in its purpose. Preface is a really lovely, dreamy occupation of your time, and promises much for the future--and a pretty interesting kick-off to what appears to be a split-CD series.

--Joseph Kyle

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