‘And the Tears Washed me Wave After Cowardly Wave’ has an interesting back story.
The record was recorded shortly after Ryan Graveface moved from Chicago to Savannah last year. In the process of this move all his precious instruments including a cello, banjo and organ were damaged, some beyond repair, by the removal “experts”. Calling this a musician’s worst nightmare really would be an understatement. However, rather than dwell on this inconvenience, Ryan simply decided to proceed with recording regardless, using all the instruments damaged in the move and throwing in some makeshift percussion and noise, where required.
The record is also part two in the story of a serial killer’s journey from every day man in the street, through his downward spiral into a grisly world of misdeed and murder, culminating in his death on album closer ‘Final Truth’. Having set the scene in ‘So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite’, focusing on the period of the killer’s childhood through to his first murder, Dreamend now explores the period after the killer’s initial taste for blood has been quenched. It’s a fascinating approach to song writing and the subject matter lends itself beautifully to the music that has been produced. The narrative controls both the context and pacing of the record as the tale of murder and inner torment ebbs and flows towards the final acts, the last moments of the killers’ dark and tortured existence.
The pacing of the record is particularly intelligent, highlighted beautifully on ‘The Face on the Tintype’, an upbeat banjo lead affair complimented by sinister vocals where a sudden change of pace as Ryan sings ‘now you’re getting sleepy and I must tell you the truth/what you drank tonight will ultimately kill you’, ends not only the track but the life of another victim in the process. On ‘Cold & Dead’ ‘I see your face again/it’s cold and it haunts me’, set against the backdrop of acoustic guitar and glockenspiel tells of, in the most chilling of ways, the killers struggle to deal with the images of his victims. Then there is the brilliance of opener ‘Another Day’ where frantic percussion and murky submerged vocals almost suffocate the life out of an upbeat banjo line. Evoking thoughts of My Bloody Valentine crossed with Neutral Milk Hotel this re-acquaints the listener with the killer and his thirst for blood.
Short interlude pieces are scattered through the record at opportune moments, not only allowing breathing space from the subject matter but also creating a pause in the story in which the previous information can seep into the listeners mind. Then the story continues ever onwards culminating with the dreamy lullaby ‘Final Truth’ where the killer has resigned himself to the end that lies in wait for him as his psyche finally unravels completely.
With this record, Dreamend distil the essence of pop music in an extremely surprising fashion. Using traditional instruments but utilising them in non-traditional ways the music is immediate and engaging. When it all comes together Dreamend has created something quite unique and completely compelling; this is pop music, done differently but done extremely well. Dreamend has created something quite out of the ordinary, delving into the depths of the human psyche to create a haunting piece of music that needs to be heard to be believed.
You can find out more about Dreamend and Graveface records HERE