A Little Too Much Haze
When hazy instruments and muttered lyrics start off the record Smoke Screen Dreams from LA based singer Cerise, the listener’s curiosity multiplies as he or she wonders where the artist will take this concept throughout the album. The answer to that, however, is that it explores the concept minutely and tends to stick to the same sounds until the end of the record. While it is nice to have a sound that is reliable and identifiable, by the end of this album, this listener grows weary of Cerise’s monotonous vocals and sound.
First off, the first track “Smoke Screen Dreams” sounds as if it is going to bring the listener on a shadowy journey toward some transformative and clear end. Instead, the album as a whole blends together and one song does not differentiate between the next. Cerise’s parroting vocals work in some ways, but her repetitive tonelessness incites a sort of annoyance and frustration from the listener. It is almost as if Cerise is a high school biology teacher, instructing uninterested students about nucleic acids.
Not to be entirely negative, there are a few songs that work on this record. For instance, “To Go Away” and “St. Nick” are two tracks that stand out amongst the largely uniform album. While they do still retain the monotone of Cerise’s vocals, these songs on the other hand sound more nostalgic. They appear to be toying with the sound most associated with early underground feminist hardcore punk; think Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill. While Cerise is in no way greater than these two bands, it is nice to see an attempt at executing such a distinct and reputable sound.
Cerise’s repetition of dead pan vocals and mumbling lyrics has the opposite effect of what the singer is trying to accomplish. Perhaps, she is attempting to lull the listener into a sort of trance, but her hypnotic attempts leave one more annoyed than transfixed. While she does make an honorable attempt, the end product is just something that can toss aside at the end of the day.