Rowan Harris takes a look at first light's dark, ethereal dreampop quartet Dream English Kid.
The new year is finally upon us; millions of us have made hollow promises in an indifferent obsequiousness to tradition known as a ‘resolution’. Yet amidst this frivolous festival of falsity and the faint-hearted, there are two things of which we can be sure: (1) Porter and May are no more (2) Dream English Kid is much more than just vain reverie.
While their previous alias had the air of many of the declarative, formidable band names we have become familiar with, ‘Dream English Kid’, for those unaware of its origin, seems somewhat whimsical in comparison; a blissful picture of childhood naivety. The name was taken from that of a short film by the artist Mark Leckey, in which he explores his childhood years as they were, unbeknownst to him, documented on the internet. Yet as the human race continues to contend with the vast implications of social media and the information revolution, we should be mindful to check our own attitudes towards these emerging technologies. As returning vocalists Hannah Cobb and Maria Toase would suggest, it is a Brave New World indeed that lies ahead of us.
A new addition to the band, Jakob Tynan takes to the drums while Liam Ogburn reprises his role as bassist. As ever, Cobb and Toase provide the seductively cynical vocals atop, completing the Preston four-piece.
Though the formula remains largely the same as Porter & May, sonically the band has entered another realm entirely. Self-described as 'dreampop', one finds the drums are stripped back, guitars flanged and vocals synthesised. Where Porter & May were at times full of youthful exuberance, Dream English Kid’s sound, somewhat ironically, feels more mature and considered.
Of the two tracks that I have had the pleasure of listening to, the intro to ‘Give & Take’ seems apt for this Brave New World. An almost innocent other-wordly synth progression fit for the starry-eyed. Overwhelmed by the burden of responsibility, by ‘too many choices, too many things I could get wrong’ and perceiving the difficulty of discerning truth from untruth in the present day, the track soon takes a more ominous turn. ‘Requiem’ on the other hand channels that wistful sweeping sound of Slowdive through its droning guitars and heavy synth, overlaid with poignant vocals for a thoroughly refreshing take on shoegaze.
Dream English Kid are set to announce their first live dates soon.