How can something so bleak be so memorable?
Dreams Are Not Enough is Telefon Tel Aviv’s latest installment after a decade of silence. The record alters between meditative, droning moments and striking, abrasive dynamics. It’s hypnotic and poetic. If read consecutively, the record’s tracklist itself is a poem and the instrumentals embedded in between Joshua Eustis’s sparse vocals are expressive in nature. The songs progressively evolve throughout the record and organically morph into diverse, droning soundscapes.
“I dream of it often:” the first track from Dreams Are Not Enough, establishes Eustis’s production themes and sets a moody precedent for what the remaining songs will uphold. The oceanic synthesizers, and washed out, echoing strings are prevalent in both “I dream of it often:” and the entirety of the record.
Another standout track on the record is “standing at the bottom of the ocean;” one of the more climactically sinister cuts. With growling, distorted baselines to support Eustis’s beautiful harmonies, “standing at the bottom of the ocean;” offers a memorable blend of vocal tranquility and instrumental ambition. Eustis’s crossover into progressive rock working with bands like Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer is especially heard as an influence on this cut.
“not breathing,” is another song that resembles Eustis’s crossover into experimental, more progressive genres of rock and electronica. The punchy drums, droning white noise and chanting vocals are reminiscent of Eustis’s previous record, Immolate Yourself, and are welcomed energy amongst some of the more atmospheric themes prevalent throughout Dreams Are Not Enough.
Dreams Are Not Enough is an immaculate, theatrical project filled with emotional turmoil in its lyrics and production. This is Eustis’s response to life and to death, as this record is the first under the Telefon Tel Aviv name to be released since Eustis’s former bandmate Charlie Cooper passed away. It begs the question of how something so bleak and void of warmth can be so elegant and pleasurable.