The Men has been one of the great acts of the past decade (at least.) The Brooklyn based group has been able to put together indie rock, punk, noise and post hardcore into a sick mix, incorporating along the ways elements of psychedelia, country music, surf rock and Americana. What is even more impressive is that this band has been constantly active, releasing record after record, from the 2010 debut to this year’s Tomorrow’s Hits. I was starting to get worried that maybe the tank was running low, but it seems like this is not the case, since they have the juice to work with their side-project, Dream Police, and are releasing their debut album, Hypnotized, in November.
Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro, the two fourths of The Men and the force behind Dream Police, are perfectionists when it comes to their music, and do not settle for anything else. It has been said that they spent an entire day making sure that one snare crack sound they were using was the right one! And when they tried out a drum machine in “Pouring Rain,” the whole album took a different turn and had to be rebuilt in order to include the drum machine. And I am not even a big fan of using drum machines but with Dream Police it just somehow works, especially in songs such as “Pouring Rain” and “Let It Be.”
The whole vibe of Hypnotized is exactly that: hypnotizing. The band incorporates elements of psychedelic rock that will make you take off to insane trips. In some cases Dream Police start straight away with their more hallucinogenic parts, in the title track and in “Iris” for instance, giving you the full effect of their unearthly vibe. Their use of effects further enhances this aspect of Dream Police, with one of the highlights being the completely insane effect in the end of “My Mama’s Dead.” But still the extent that these guys can go to really shines in their more mind-bending moments, in the one big trip “All We Are,” the amazing caustic effects in “Pouring Rain” and the absolutely grand “Let It Be.” That song is a sonic voyage on its own right.
Of course this psychedelic cloud that Dream Police is putting forward is also aided by the great use of synths. The huge sound that they are able to bring forth in “Pouring Rain” and the magical sounds of “Let It Be” build up imposing sonic landscapes. And even the way the vocals are presented in this album is just helping enhance the dreamlike vibe. In the opening track the voice is mixed a bit lower to the music, which really adds to their sound, while in “My Mama’s Dead” they apply distortion on the voice giving the song a more threatening and imposing attribute. And the more emotional performances in “All We Are” and “Pouring Rain” just stand out on their own.
Of course you cannot not have a solid foundation for your music and solely rely on your psychedelic nature. And that is where Dream Police really thrive. From the sick bass lines of the opening song to the earth shuttering sound in “Let It Be” and “My Mama’s Dead” Dream Police just make sure that the basis of their songs is covered. And on top of all that the melodies that this band come up with is just unreal. The lines in the opening of “Iris” are further enriched by the addition of the acoustic guitar, while the more retro vibe of “John” with its amazing phrases is astonishing. While their lead work is also going over the top, especially the way the leads from three minutes onwards in “My Mama’s Dead” build up the track. And even when they are soloing, they are really giving it all they got. The solo near the end of the opening song really elevates the track, while the more emotional solo in “Pouring Rain” sounds fucking sweet. And that guitar solo in “John,” squeezing a bit more attitude as well, boosts the retro vibe of the song even further.
But still, after you have gone through the album, Dream Police still have a surprise for you. In “Sandy” the band is leaving behind its indie, punk, psychedelic sound and brings, what is essentially, a folk song. The acoustic guitar is just mesmerizing while the vocal performance is just top.
Hypnotized is just a great release. Dream Police step away far enough from The Men to create their own identity and their album is inspired, filled with diverse elements, amazing melodies, electronics experimentation and an almost cinematic aura. Not much more you can ask for.
7.8 / 10
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