Dancing Ferret Discs
~reviewed by Mick Mercer
It would be overly simplistic to compare The Dreamside to Inkubus Sukkubus, and not just because they sound nothing like them, but that’s reviewing for you: get one feeble idea into your head and you start to pursue it. For all their charm, of which they have plent,y Inkubus Sukkubus are actually pretty conventional, whereas The Dreamside, who share IS’s nagging familiarity, seem to have wobbled right off the radar.
I can well imagine them being a band like IS who bring with them a cosy sense of respectable songcraft, and they have the whole dippy Faery thing going for them. I daresay there’s even been some Pagan imagery in their songs in the past, so it’s in that territory, but it also has strange shafts of primordial sunlight flashing through the usually mid-tempo songs which comes from wholly opposite ends of musical spectrums, such as faux Arabic, lean and mean Rock, and a whole lot of pop.
Why is this? I don’t know.
Much of the impact naturally hinges around chanteuse Kemi Vita, who sounds like a laboratory experiment which fused Siouxsie and Bjork, and this gives the middle eastern elements genuine rawness with the mild ululating, but when that is first demonstrated with the opener, ‘Goddesses’, it’s also a sign of a letdown because this is beautiful music, that often threatens to get truly griping, then eases off and reveals what is, nearly always, a pained but essentially attractive visage.
There’s so much here to enjoy that it tends to swamp the disappointments, much as I experienced with Collide, although they’re more devious with their imagination. The Dreamside rock out, with a bit of hawkish metal in ‘Get Away’ but are more convincing with the woozy ballads ‘Faery Child’ and ‘The Dreamside’ for they have a great knack of producing gently swelling melodies, where the verse structure is so good you’ll think it’s a chorus. Or something.
There are some bad points. ‘The Divine’ is truly pisspoor pop, and their rock often sounds of the poodle variety, so when the two things combine, as they do in ’Mirror Moon’ or, to a lesser extent, ‘Fear Of Being’, it’s like Jennifer Rush has risen from the commercial grave. But there are curious, almost Mediterranean, influences on acoustic, there are little medieval twinges, and there are subtle shifts of anger, which threaten to tip certain songs over. And that is A Good Thing.
Yes, maybe they’re trying a little too hard to be all things to all (faery) folk, or maybe it’s purely unconscious absorption of influences, but they produce a bizarre mess of exquisitely arranged songs, all the more wonderful for being so bloody perverse. ‘Ce Soir’ is deliciously French, ‘Apaika’ flagrantly restful. I wouldn’t call it dreamy, but it seems pretty lucid to me.