For Fans Of
“Dreamers Crime are a five-piece band from Sydney Australia that are bringing the new sound of hard rock to the world.”
Now, I’m not entirely sure what the “new sound of hard rock” is, but it sure isn’t Dreamers Crime!
Despite that sweeping, over-hyped statement this Aussie band’s debut album is an awkward mix of most tried and true rock songwriting and production clichés we’ve all heard before. And in some cases, not for a while, but with there being a good reason for their absence. From the outset, I do admire the ambition behind such a bold statement, and I know that this group really are trying to become that “new sound”. However, once I’d experienced ‘No Compromises‘, it was painfully apparent that Dreamers Crime had failed to follow through on any of the expectations they’d established with such a perfunctory statement.
So firstly, the negatives, because unfortunately there are significantly more of those. Track one, ‘The Pulse‘ opens with the king of chugging guitar chugs that require as minimal use of the left hand as possible, all embellished with some pretty, delay-soaked lead work over the top. Something I’ve heard before, say, oh I don’t know, more than a thousand times in rock and heavy music! Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with this kind of introduction at all, but considering I went into this record wanting to be offered something new and refreshing for “hard rock” (and not unfairly, either, what with the band’s overblown statement), I was immediately deeply disappointed. From there, I tried my damned hardest to quell the increasing feelings of “oh God, here we go again” as each new song came and went, all in order to give this debut album a fair go. Yet from each generic and unexciting rock track to the next, I was continually disappointed over and over, all by the band’s own doing no less.
When frontman Peter Repousis is singing, it’s fine. He can carry a tune well enough and has the kind of power and grit you would expect to hear in this style of music. The influence of the late great Chester Bennington had on a generation of young vocalists is more apparent than ever on ‘No Compromises‘, but for me, Repousis often sounds an awful lot like some hack trying to sound like Bennington, rather than looking at their own skill set killing it on their own steam. Which perhaps sums this band up best: mere imitation instead of actual innovation. There are certainly moments where the vocalist steps out of his shell and makes a real impact – in particular, the chorus of album highlight, ‘I Believe In You‘ – but these few solid moments only serve to make the rest of the performance comparatively lifeless. Further, the less said about his screaming on this album, the better – that was just bloody awful!
The problems of this album run deeper than the constant reliance on what we’ve all heard before, though. After a number of listens through, it became apparent that the biggest problem with ‘No Compromises‘ is a lack of any dynamic contrast. This isn’t inherent to absolutely all 12 songs, but even in the more nuanced and finer detailed songs, the way in which the drums have been recorded means they have this weird flat and over-compressed sound that drains all life and any sense of dynamics that might’ve occurred. Beyond those moments, the majority of the record is a flat and awfully bland block of standard rock writing presets that lacks the impact the band is so desperately trying to deliver.
Dreamers Crime do have a relatively keen sense of melody, however, and every so often something sticky will poke through the mediocre muck, much like the chorus in ‘I Believe In You‘ that I mentioned earlier. It’s evident to me that this record would be a lot more interesting if more care and focus went into the melodies because when they work, they work well! The band’s hooks regularly start to slip into the territory of “whatever sounded good when I hummed over the track”, which is easy to do but rarely produces the kind of chorus that’ll keep rattling around a listener’s head the next day. Lyrically, the record doesn’t really offer anything mind-blowingly new or exciting in terms of themes or motifs, but as a whole, the lyrical body of the release works absolutely fine. Yes, there are a few moments of unashamed cheese (what rock record, in general, isn’t?) by the time I found such moments, my mind and ears had both been distracted by far worse problems.
You know, for a band that wants to be “bringing the new sound of hard rock to the world”, there is so much to be desired from Dreamers Crime’s debut LP – all because of the expectations I was given by the band themselves before I’d even put on the damn thing! There are certainly things to be enjoyed here; if nothing else, ‘No Compromises’ is a throwback to some classic rock tunes of yesteryear, but once you realise this is potentially the opposite of what Dreamers Crime was trying to achieve, any and all charm goes out the window very quickly. However, I will be approaching future releases with a hopeful yet wary apprehension – it’s only upwards from here. Because there is indeed promise to this band’s music; these guys just need to tap into that greater potential.
We All Know Now
I Believe In You
Here We Are
Love Kills Heroes
‘No Compromises’ is out now.