Lucid Dreaming Sounds Like Xylophones
Indie group Tashaki Miyaki’s new album, titled Dream, has emotion and styling to match, if one listens hard enough for the former to get past the latter. The female, sometimes androgynous-sounding vocals are sung and projected as if from underwater, in drawn-out and meandering phrases, as seems to be the trend in indie music at the moment. The bulk of the album is bookended by an “LAPD Prelude” and an “LAPD Finale,” which immediately precedes a bonus track titled simply, “LAPD.” This track incorporates congruent motifs consistent with the “Prelude” and “Finale” and is itself fully instrumental. While it is a pleasantly ambient track that is consistent with the rest of the album in terms of overall sound, its placement at the very end raises questions. The title suggests, perhaps, some interaction with metropolitan law enforcement, but any of the social issues with which one might engage in regards to police do not appear to be present on the album. While Dream is not a concept album, it seems that “LAPD” might fit better as a sort of entr’acte midway through the 13-track work.
This album seems to have a pattern of very gritty and string-bending electric guitar intros that sometimes take the listener aback, partly in that they don’t seem to flow seamlessly into the rest of the song. Tracks like “City” and “Tell Me” walk the line between classic and alternative rock and often remind one of the works of artists like Tegan and Sara for their rough-around-the-edges femininity. Other tracks, such as “Facts of Life,” employ a touch of country rock, with comforting chord progressions, strumming patterns and lyrical structure.
Dream is in a way very self-conscious. Just as a listener may be feeling that he or she has stepped into an indie film, the lead singer drawls, “I wish we were in the movies…” (as on “Somethin’ is Better Than Nothin’”). The 1960s rock vibe on “Girls on TV” and its self-aware, attention-seeking lyrics, such as, “All I want’s your praise,” comment on media and fame as desirable and perhaps addictive. Alongside songs like this are slow jams like “Anyone But You” and “Keep Me In Mind” — the latter being slow dance material that utilizes what resembles a xylophone to create a delicate sound. The ambience and lyrical realness of Dream both betrays and confirms its title.