Dream Punx – Anne (2011)

Dream Punx album cover
Dream Punx album cover

On occasion I come across music that I figure I should have heard years ago and wonder how it fell through the cracks. The Portland, OR based Anne was one of those bands or at least I thought so when I first heard Dream Punk.

In what sounded like it could have come straight outta 1990 was actually from 2011. Sounding like a tribute to various shoegaze bands from the late ’80s and early ’90s, Anne had crafted a wet murky sounding dream pop album along the lines of The Jesus & Mary Chain or The Cocteau Twins.

‘Get It How You Live’ could have easily been from the Veldt or from the Cure’s Disintegration. Other songs reflect the extent which the shoegaze genre has been covered with Slowdive, The Catherine Wheel or even Curve being recalled in songs like ‘Punk Bike’.

Calling their album Dream Punk may have been a clever ploy but the album is vintage sounding literally. Composed of demos and various tracks recorded over a span of a few years all the album’s tracks are arranged in a reverse chronological order. Despite the novel arrangement, everything fits well together with a cohesive feel that suggested the band’s style was not changing anytime soon.

My only gripe with the album is also one of the reasons its enjoyable. At just 30 or so minutes its nine songs are short concise, pleasant wet weather backdrops of ethereal beauty. The ideal of the short catchy pop song may have been a construct of the past, but it works well in the context of Anne’s shoegaze style. Often times atmospheric rock music has a tendency to wonder, Dream Punx keeps all its melodies packed in compact segments that are just long enough without leaving you wanting to hear more.

Finding information about the band requires some digging, but they  are still together and have released a new album called Pulling Chain, as of 2014.

Apparently with Pulling Chain, the band has immersed themselves in the sound of today with a modern electronic based style that uses synthesizers and harsh dance beats. On occasion this equally short follow up might suggest the band has moved on from its shoegazer past, but some concessions to new wave can be heard. That’s too bad because now the band sounds like everyone else. For me the formula of going backward to move forward worked well with Dream Punx and now should be appreciated for the little gem it is.

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