Oh, screw it. This will be the bane of most snobby online music reviewers (and, more importantly, the snobby scenesters who read the work of such online music reviewers), for this review shall be written in the (**GASP**) first person. Man, typing that made me feel so dirty somehow …
Anyways, I’ll have at it now. We Are All Part of a Dream You Are Having is quite polarizing in two distinct ways. First off, popular media perceptions pin Creeping Weeds firmly in the camp of bands such as The Shins and Modest Mouse. Perhaps these comparisons aren’t wholly unwarranted in spots, although I personally spent about two months listening to this record with my heart aflutter at finding far more passable connections to Built to Spill’s Ultimate Alternative Wavers album and Dinosaur Jr’s entire SST Records output — only without all of the fuzzy, blistering, meandering guitar solos. I’m quite taken aback at exactly what the hell’s wrong with the wiring in my brain that I’m getting Doug Martsch and J Mascis out of everyone else’s James Russell and Isaac Brock.
Secondly, there’s an amazing disconnect somewhere as I fumble to explain how I can compare an essentially guitar solo-less album to past works of a pair of rock’s finest underappreciated guitar players. I guess it’s the general dynamics of the album, as there’s a lot of random (yet not completely jarring) rhythmic juxtapositions within a lot of the songs, similar to the frequent twists and turns of Martsch and company’s first full-length release. While not quite scraping the depths of basement recording quality, the general mixing screams ‘lo-fidelity,’ as the guitars and bass have a murky feel to them throughout the album, and much like early Dino Jr stuff, sneakily catchy vibes pervade a lot these songs.
The one place where the comparisons are deserved in the most proper order possible is on the four-minute guitar workout “The Desert,” as hyperactive rhythm guitars dote along a barreling rhythm track over spacy, wailing stunt guitars until the song comes to a head, winding up amongst a set of the disc’s only real legitimate lead guitar work. “Eternity Is a Long Time” is surely reminiscent of the quieter half of You’re Living All Over Me, while the rolling guitar drawl of “Billy Pilgrim” would fit perfectly amongst a Built to Spill b-sides collection.
That’s not to say that everything here owes debt to the Mascis/Martsch duo – hell, the acoustic guitars and organs that hold down the first minute or so of “Keystone” are more Bob Dylan and Neil Young than anything else. Instrumental “Time-Lapse” is a chirpy number owing debt to folk-pop
The Brock/Russell measures are best exemplified during the vocal structures of the opening two-minute piano drone, “Part of a Dream” and the seven minutes of meandering guitar noodling that is “Derelict.” Hell, some tracks don’t really sound like any of these things at all – the best example of this is the track “Our Country Home,” which bounces between jug band romping and Pavement guitar stylings. Geez, album closer “Wired Shut” sounds like a scaled down campfire indie rock incarnation of Led Zepplin’s “Going to California” without all the crazed moaning.
Sadly, though, for all of my delusional ideas about exactly what to compare this to, the bottom line is that We Are All Part of a Dream You Are Having is, in all honesty, a pretty pedestrian album. Perhaps if Yo La Tengo’s last album had been more blasé, Creeping Weeds’ latest offering would stand out to me a bit more. As it stands, though, too many other bands are making the same sound play better than this right now. Better luck next time, indeed.