What is the sound of space? NASA has already solved this question, but the music fans, as romantic as they always will be like, imagine it being reverberated, droning and strangely hypnotic. Give me the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Quatermass, Hookworms and Aarktica and I’ll be happy. None in stock? It matters not, I see you have The Lucid Dream. Has it really been six years since we first heard of them? Yes, it’s been and how they have grown! A fierce differential engine, steampunking itself into fame and intricate albums, each one getting two degrees of complexity above the previous. Songs of Lie & Deceit was a night drive through Peyote country, Compulsion Songs is a slingshot trip from the sun into the Neptune, breezing through the Asteroid belt and Saturn.
Album opener ‘Bad Texan’ sets the stage with utmost urgency. No time for angularity, the driveshaft is locked in one speed and no one is at the wheel. Enjoy the ride, it will be over fast. ‘Stormy Waters’ and ‘I’m a star in my own right’ ease up a bit, with the latter one pulling a sweet dub bass atmosphere. I don’t remember then going into dub, but it works so good, it sucker punched me into pressing repeat. Thank goodness Soundcloud doesn’t have adverts (yet), I’d hate for these songs to be interrupted.
Compulsions songs is an album. You must listen to it as a unit. I will repeat this for the rest of the review. You need these songs to play in order to get the full experience, soak into a waterfall that leads to a neverending river. ‘The Emptiest Place’ and ’21st Century’ are the centerpieces that split the album in two. Yes, the songs before were rich in atmosphere and with a great pace, but what follows is majestic. ‘Nadir’ is a monster jam. Drones, psychedelic beats in the style of Neu!, overdriven bass and guitars intertwining. It’s a trip akin to going into hyperspace buck naked. On that note, ‘Epitaph’ would be like falling into and out of a Quasar after the hyperspace has gone wrong. The song becomes oblique, with a wall of sound approach to effect pedal experimentation. It’s a cacophony with an order, it’s a controlled demolition. It’s an eleven minute track that is the crown in The Lucid Dream‘s career. I have faith they will make stuff further down the line, but this, ‘Epitaph’, is as good as it will get in this September, in the year of our lord 2016.
I think both The Lucid Dream and Hookworms, the only sonic relative I can think of, have a desire to please the ear of the listener. The gorgeous sound, encompassing, fully using the expansive soundscapes of stereo. But whereas Hookworms love to go musique concrete from time to time, The Lucid Dreams prefers to go for hook-laden tracks. Not a single song in Compulsion Songs works as a unit, you must listen to them all, as a unit, because this is an 8-course banquet; a decadent feast being served in a long-abandoned castle, haunted by the memories of the people who lived there, once, many lives ago.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López