The Dream Eaters – We are a Curse review & interview

The Dream Eaters’ new release “We are a Curse” features folky dream pop a’la Beach House, with echoes of low fi in the vein of Iron and Wine. The songs on this release also feature gorgeous harmonies with wit and bite to the lyrics. Overall, I felt this release definitely echoed one of my favorite bands, Kings of Convenience.

Tracks like the opener Dead on the Inside” feature a slowly building prescence that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The next track, “Neanderthals” features a bouncy, pop sensibility with a sardonic tone and bit of darkness to the lyrics, leaving the track as a whole to be an enjoyable ear worm that begs for repeated listens.
Dots” is a sweet, melodic pick me up that leaves the listener feeling like, “You are beautiful and whatever it is; you got this.

From here the album continues that pattern between songs that weaves itself into a story and is an overall pleasurable listen. This album also manages to have a lot of originality, taking on its own identity while still having those reference points easily identifiable by the listener. This release is not to be missed and especially for someone looking for a fresh, new hybrid in the realm of indie. In short, this album is highly recommended.
Other stand out tracks are “We are a Curseand “Sugar Coma“.

I also had the opportunity to ask the band a few questions about the album:

Reviewing the band’s history, I noticed that you have recently changed the overall feel and genre of what kind of music you wanted to make. What helps you to decided to move from a more shoegaze sound to something more blended and unique?

Jake: That happened pretty organically when we started focusing on the harmonies and the voices more and putting the vocals in front of the mix. I think there are still shoegaze and dream-pop elements there, but the overall mix is centered around the voices.

The harmonies between Jake and Elizabeth are some of the best I have ever heard, reminding me of one of my favorite semi acoustic low-fi bands, Kings of Convenience. Do you have a process of constructing those layers? Does it come naturally or do you have to work on them to get the overall feel down?

Jake: First of all I love Kings of Convenience too, I listen to them all the time. Usually I write a song and make a demo with the lead melody and some ideas for harmonies, and then Elizabeth and I will get together and tweak the harmonies and figure out who’ll sing the lead line. One rule of thumb is that I never sing a higher note than Elizabeth, because for whatever reason that never sounds right to us.

So after answering that, which comes first: music or lyrics?

Jake: In very rare cases the lyrics might come first but it’s almost always the melody. Sometimes I write the chords first and then the melody comes, but I find that the best songs are usually the ones where you get the melody coming out and everything else is based around that. Those are the songs that take ten minutes to write, and for whatever reason – and I know I am not alone in thinking this – the songs that take ten minutes to write are always the ones everyone likes.

Many of the songs have a bit of a sardonic tone lyrically which is met with a strange sense of optimism within the piece of music as a whole. Was this intentional?

Jake: I’m not necessarily a pessimistic person but my darker side tends to come out in my lyrics, I’m sure that’s the case for a lot of songwriters. I think there’s only a few lines on the album that I would consider truly optimistic but I like to leave things vague enough so that there’s room for interpretation, so I could see how a listener could hear optimism in their own interpretation.

So, what’s the “story” of the album? I read that it’s a bit of collection but it also feels like there is a theme…

Jake: Most of the album is about feeling lost, losing hope; being out at sea. I’m pretty sure that will be the theme of most of our albums, I don’t see that changing much!

The sound of the album is familiar yet also very unique. What are some of your influences and how do you focus on keeping a sense of originality?

Jake: The influences informing this album are pretty endless, I could never name or even remember them all because over the course of making the album there were so many of them. In arranging two part harmony the benchmark for me is always Simon and Garfunkel, and there’s also the Everly Brothers, and of course Kings of Convenience. When we were mixing the album, I was very influenced by Broadcast‘s soundtrack to Berberian Sound Studio and 60’s and 70’s Italian horror movie soundtracks. I always return to Air‘s Moon Safari whenever I’m working on a mix, and you can hear that in certain places as well.

Last question:
If you could hop in Dr. Who’s TARDIS and go to any concert in history, what show would you choose?

Jake: I would have to see Hendrix circa 1968. He’s got to be one of the best performers ever. I did see Prince and Bowie before they died, but seeing either of them in their heydays would be a close second.

Elizabeth: Mine would have to be The Last Waltz. Being Canadian, The Band was a huge part of my upbringing. Despite some of the controversy surrounding that show, how amazing would it have been to see all of those artists under the same roof?!

Thank you both so much! The album is amazing!

The Dream Eaters story originated in 2015. After playing clubs with various projects and toiling in obscurity for years in his hometown of Boston and later New York City, Zavracky decided to give up the musicians dream and stop performing completely. Then, while working as a bartender at a dive bar in Brooklyn he met LeBaron, another bartender who had just relocated from Vancouver Island, BC. Discovering that they were fellow musicians, they began to collaborate and found an instant connection. As a composer and producer, Zavracky began writing songs for LeBaron to sing alone but soon found their voices blended together in harmony to create a wholly unique sound. With friends and a growing fanbase providing support, they released a number of EP’s and performed live as “Jake And Elizabeth.” As they began to further define their sound, they began performing under the name “The Dream Eaters.”

Their self-produced debut EP, Five Little Pills was released on June 23, 2016, as the first official release under their new band name. A bare-bones production that they self-recorded and released, it provided the precursor of solidifying their new sound and establishing the process they would use to record their first full-length debut album, We Are A Curse. The album is slated for release on April 14, 2017.

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