Dreamend - The Long Forgotten Friend
Record Label: Graveface Records
Release Date: October 28, 2008
It’s wonderful how we, as human beings, don’t know everything. As a result we are pleasantly surprised by things we have never heard about. This applies to the industry that we all know and love, music. Who hasn’t heard of Nirvana or Radiohead? This is only because sleeper hits, such as Nevermind and The Bends, tend to surpass our expectations greatly, and then the couple of black patches left are covered and later released in classics. Although not as great as Radiohead, Dreamend have done something similar with that "unexpected effect" and have relatively surprised me. Workaholic Ryan Graveface is the sole owner of Graveface Records, a part-time guitarist of Black Moth Super Rainbow and also runs his own band. Know The Appleseed Cast? Well, they had released a couple of albums under that very record label and most artists signed with Graveface fall within that kind of music, i.e. atmospheric, indie, post-rock and psychedelic pop. This includes Dreamend and their album The Long Forgotten Friend.
What drags me to Dreamend isn’t what they do; it’s how they do it. It’s nothing ground-breaking, but hell, they do it good. The folkish poppiness of Azure Ray (another label signee) and the psychedelic atmosphere of Black Moth Super Rainbow -- this is exactly what Dreamend sound-like, or more so set out to achieve. At times they’re more than successful and demand repeated listens (“Are You Waking”, “If Only for a Day”), yet at others they sound cheesy, unorganized and very skip-worthy (“Fourth of July at the Asylum”).
After the Hammock-like intro, “If Only for a Day” picks up the pop and melds that catchy melody with psychedelic influences only to be followed by a slightly sluggish folk track. Brilliantly doing what Dreamend intended to do, “Are You Waking” follows the good path of the second song. I will repeat, Dreamend do not do anything new, but when the instrumental “Fourth of July at the Asylum” tries to break that and really fails to do so, you wish they never tried. It would seem that this hole in the road would lead to catastrophe but as the second instrumental, “The Third Casket” brings back the sweet melody, then we think “Where was this all along?”
The instruments all blend nicely together to form this eerie mood that brings the haunted feeling of a deserted area. The drums are minimal but work with the softly plucked banjo and atmospheric guitars to support this feeling. The best of Ryan Graveface’s lyrics come out in the final song, “Deathwatch Carnival 1965,” as his haunting voice moans “I know you’ll never wake somehow so see, nothing’s real.” The words of that song bring chills down your spine just as the theme of a ghost-town does.
It's not the best bunch of songs, but not the worst. There are better bands in Graveface Records’ catalog of artists, and quite a few others try their luck at pushing pop, psychedelic rock and folk together just as Dreamend do here. It’s not great the whole way through, but there are times where you really feel that they have done it. You can’t pretend that you don’t love or loathe The Long Forgotten Friend, because it’s a mixture of both that keeps you hoping they come out with a sleeper hit and don’t just remain the band I had never heard of. One of the few hard-working bands making music today has opened a relatively small black patch that I hope is sewn on the follow-up to a folkishly poppy album.
01. Last Night on Feather River
02. If only for a Day
03. The Tulip Staircase
04. Are you Waking
05. Your Kiss
07. Fourth of July at the Asylum
08. Remember you Smiling
09. The Third Casket
10. Deathwatch Carnival, 1965