Melancholy and melodic, The Dream, the first full-length album from LA-based Tashaki Miyaki, is the kind of music you can’t listen to casually without it falling into the background. It has a muted charm all its own, but you have to focus hard or you might miss it. The album was engineered by Dan Horne, producer of Allah-Las—to whom their smooth guitars are similar—and the wistful self-absorption present in every song will be familiar in tone to fans of Cherry Glazerr or Girlpool.
The creepy "LAPD Prelude" provides a strong opening. The hypnotic tone lures you in and induces a sense of unease, setting the mood for the rest of the album, which reveals overall a state of disillusionment and a desire to abandon the world as it is. "It’s all fine, and I’m okay," singer Paige Stark croons in the first vocal track, "City", her flat tone making you feel as though it’s impossible for that to be true.
Even the songs that have a slightly quicker tempo, like "Cool Runnings," maintain a sense of melancholy and make you feel as though there’s something dark lurking under the surface. "I see a good thing coming," she says, but it’s hard to believe that she’ll manage to quite reach it.
Musically, the album maintains a fairly consistent tone throughout, with faint undercurrents of drums and acoustic guitar being the predominant features. The exception were the harsher opening chords of "Facts Of Life," which stood out as the album's strongest. Some of the songs, however, feel a little too simple, such as the mainly acoustic "Keep Me In Mind". They do their dozy, breathy sound well, but even a good thing gets a bit repetitive after a while.
The danger of listening too closely also lies in the discovery that many of the lyrics don’t say anything original. "I don’t want anything, just the world to love me," opens "Girls On TV," the third track. In a move that feels more like a grab for generic cool-girl status than anything real, the narrator of the song describes her love for Kurt Cobain and her desire to be loved by all. It’s nothing that hasn’t been said before, and in a similarly Valium-dazed tone of voice at that.
That’s not to say that this every-girl image never works, though. On "Out Of My Head," the more melancholy tone and gentle drumming combined with lines such as "I wanna be out of my head for just one day" conjure images of a girl staring out the window, waiting for her life to begin but unable to reach out and do anything about it—a feeling that’s all too familiar.
Ultimately, although the album provides a dreamy soundtrack to a rainy day—and even, in its best moments, approaches a universal melancholy—it doesn’t express anything that hasn’t been said before.
The Dream Track Listing:
01. LAPD Prelude
03. Girls On My T.V.
04. Out Of My Head
05. Anyone But You
06. Cool Runnings
07. Tell Me
08. Facts Of Life
09. Keep Me In Mind
10. Get It Right
11. Somethin’ Is Better Than Nothin’
12. LAPD Finale