Review: Feverbones – Dream Talk

Fans of Bombay Bicycle Club and the Maccabees will not want to miss the latest release from this indie-pop trio, full of captivating, cloudy, layered vocals, interweaving, intricate guitar melodies and drum beats, and tasteful synth.

This sophomore release injects evocations of summer to this rainy April with ten immersive, hazy tracks that explore the band’s stranger experiences from the last few years.

The group have a combined wealth of experience within the Austin music scene. Drummer/songwriter Matthew Shepherd and multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Christopher Cox comprised a rhythm section for local artists, and bassist/vocalist Abram Shook released three albums, before the ‘fever in their bones’ lead them to assemble.

This expertise shows: although laid-back on the surface, the elaborate rhythms, melodies and composition shine through underneath.

At times one piece can morph into the next, with tracks predominantly built on repetition: they often centre around an underlying recurring guitar riff or rhythm, upon which other instrumentation is cleverly layered. These layers create complex cross-instrument rhythms and melodies which keep up the interest and sense of movement, and mean the tracks avoid feeling overly repetitive.

The blurring of the lines between tracks isn’t a criticism; it all adds to the hypnotic, dreamlike, slightly surreal nature of the album, losing a definite sense of time. And the album is definitely not without variation.

The chilled “Sleepwalking” and more up-tempo “Catalina” are two of the more contrasting pieces, but are equally both highlights of Feverbones’ latest musical endeavour.

“Sleepwalking” opens straight onto Shook’s ethereal, layered vocals, rolling drum beats and never-ending, rippling, reverb-fuelled guitars, which rise and fall together, wave-like, throughout the song.

In contrast, “Catalina” opts for a clearer, sunnier and fast-paced sound, with crashing guitar chords, sweeping synth and vocals that are brighter and more forceful, while still retaining Shook’s signature foggy tone.

Other notable elements include some of the more unconventional features of the album, including a section of layered call-and-response vocals that are brought in at different levels of obscurity in “Catch and Release”, and the brass instrumentation in the outro of “Rules”.

The album as a whole doesn’t feel like an experiment though: these elements are seamlessly blended in, and the result is a coherent release.

Although in the same vein as their debut, this album displays that the five years that have elapsed since their debut release have not been wasted.

The trio have taken the winning elements from their first EP and thoroughly expanded on them, producing a much more mature, exciting and impressive collection of tracks.

Dream Talk is the release of a seasoned band that really knows what it’s doing.

Bethan Ryder

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