"As If By Ghosts"

(Graveface Records 2004)Dreamend - As If By Ghosts

Soft and fragile with timidity one moment, brash and aggressive the next, Dreamend's "As If By Ghosts" floats by as a stream of consciousness. The album's ten tracks lose a feeling of independence as they closely follow one another, bleeding together, on this relaxed and focused album of haunting and spacey music. In the end, it is Dreamend's haunting familiarity that keeps "As If By Ghosts" interesting instead of the tediousness that could accompany a band driven by noise.

When used, light vocals float between being the focus and being just another element to accentuate the music. "Murmur" and "Four Days In May" are slow, rhythm driven tracks with delicate vocals that are seemingly suspended in the dense instrumentation. Guitars twang gently and slide slowly (and, somewhat, unsurprisingly) on "Slide Song" as the vocals whisper in your ear. But on "Can't Take You," vocals step into the spotlight for a more traditional approach as a guitar strums as accompaniment.

Vocals abandoned, instrumental tracks make up half the album, such as with the xylophone tapping lightly on "Ellipsis." A spacey lullaby, "The Almighty," is weightless before it is quickly dominated by a heavy thumping and pounding. Rhythm drives "The Old House and Its Occupants" as the song varies from heavy to light and a gentle pounding reminds of the ocean's surf. The chaos that Dreamend is controlling is never as clear as on "Ten Guitars From Salem" where drum rolls dominate and percussion takes over to fill the spacey sound. And just like the calm from the storm, "Passing," lingers with light instrumentation.

Dreamend rely heavily on their instrumentation throughout "As If By Ghosts." Setting moods with quick changes in tones and volumes, "As If By Ghosts" borders, unexpectedly, on disarray and confusion at times as it quickly swoops and dips through segments. Despite the constant changes in tone, "As If By Ghosts" remains constant and contained, fully knowing ahead of time where it is taking the listener on this ethereal experience.


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