Turning Dream-Pop into Reality
Ex Cops, a Brooklyn duo formed in 2011 recording and touring as a five-piece, have released their debut, True Hallucinations, on indie label Other Music, run by the Manhattan record store of the same name. As weary as indie-via-Brooklyn-hipsters may be, an open mind makes Hallucinations worthwhile.
At only thirty minutes, True Hallucinations wastes no time on meandering extras. Brian Harding and Amalie Bruun craft sweet dream pop that works to be no heavier than air. Built on uptempo rhythms, most songs are under three minutes and don’t stray far from a set formula. Synths, guitars and layered boy-girl vocals so dreamy they often obscure the lyrics, are featured on nearly every track.
Harding’s delicate voice murmurs its way through “Ken” and “James,” intoning innocuous lyrics like “If you like / You can have some tea / But my main concern is equality.” Gentle variations are found in the bouncy acoustic surf of “Spring Break (Birthday Song)” which incorporates ocean sounds, and a woman saying, “I love the waves” and singing “Happy Birthday.” Or the non-jazzy sax-featuring “Jazz and Information.” Or the actually jazzy “Nico Beast,” with its focus on drum improv and repetitive “oohs” and “yeahs” in place of a chorus.
Because each song blends easily into the next, True Hallucinations can pass by as just that. It’s worth the extra listens to pick up the hooks and bring it into reality.