Dreamend – Split EP

Split EP

Monster Movie formed originally in 1989 and then, without any of the original members, re-formed in 2000. Today, Monster Movie is Sean Hewson and former Slowdive guitarist Christian Savill. Dreamend fills out the second half of this split EP. Dreamend works nicely coupled with Monster Movie, possessing a similarly layered, soft, rounded sound that shoegazers have grown to love.
“Beautiful Artic Star” opens up the CD with an 80’s style drumbeat on one layer, an encompassing lethargic keyboard imitating the low-end of an organ on another, and a brighter keyboard imitating bells as the last layer. When it’s all placed together, you can slip right into the dreamlike state that this CD sustains throughout. The vocals are repetitive and reverberate in your ear, allowing them to slip undetected into the other sounds. “Nobody Sees” greets us with a nice piano moving steadily, lowering the curtain to the distorted vocals. Midway into the verse, the harmonica – which is actually a keyboard – appears on the scene. Slowly it moves from note to note, keeping in line with the dreamlike tempo as it plays alongside the vocals. Then after just two tracks, Monster Movie leaves us.
But have no fear, Dreamend is ready to keep you rolling. To be polite, Dreamend starts off slowly as a transition to their slightly more up-tempo shoegazing. Wavering keyboards set the background, and a leisurely played electric guitar the foreground in the band’s first untitled track. The speed of the song quickens as the drums pop in, instantly but unnoticeably livening things up. Gradually the instruments work towards a tempo that adequately suits the next – and best – track, “…Ellipsis…” This track opens with a very cool keyboard taking the stage as the chorus for the song. As the verse comes, the drums pound away, keeping the cymbals moving as the guitar and bass make sure no pinholes of silence appear. Dreamend chooses not to include vocals, and I think it works very well for them, as this track evidences. The last – and also untitled – track slows things back down once again. A bass guitar plays alongside the chime-like keyboards for a few minutes, with odd sounds and dashes of drums tossed in intermittently. The guitars come swirling in about three minutes into the song, and then we are strung-out back into the dream when they cut out, and finally back into reality when the CD fades out on the low end of the keyboards. By this time, you might already be in a real dream.
All in all, these are two wonderful shoegazing bands. Monster Movie creates a lighter dream-like state, while Dreamend integrates the traditional rock instruments to assist their creation of a slightly darker, less melancholy atmosphere. While Monster Movie incorporates vocals nicely into their sound, Dreamend functions wonderfully without them. So who wins the split? (What do you mean it’s not a competition?) Well I really liked the track “…Ellipsis…” from Dreamend, so that’s my winner. But both bands are very solid, and if you have enjoyed staring at your Nike’s in the past, you should check them out yourself.