Reviewing this as a joint effort mostly because of the related titles and because they carry the same feel.
First, Dreamers. This is a long musical piece stretched over a long sung poem. I say poem because it looks like one, I mean, even though lyrics are poems in some sense, this one seems to be written either first as a poem that was later turned to music or as lyrics, but aiming at a poetic style that is more common to academic poetry. Since I feel like the former rather than the latter, I’ll start by talking about this as a poem.
No, it does not rhyme, which gives it a modern feeling. Not in a free form way though, as in post-Leaves of Grass, because it has a clear rhythmic structure, but more like unrhymed poems traditionally are (think of the introduction to Paradise Lost, where Milton explains that rhymed poems are the invention of a barbaric age, pointing out that Homer didn’t rhyme). The poem deals in a fascinating way about this character marked by a hard life and a difficult upbringing, who the singer tells to look ahead and not to give-up. To get the “fascinating” part though, you probably have to read it as a poem, since it passes too fast in the music to give time for reflection. It’s always nice to have these two levels of deepness, one point for that. There are some one-liners that kind of work as the tip of the iceberg for the lyrics though, taking the part of the actual lyrics, since most of what the guy is saying you don’t really understand. I’m talking about things like:
I look at my shadow An unwelcome friend But one who is not shallow being with me until the end
Now off to the music itself. It’s interesting, experimental, kind of progressive though not in a wanky way, with some moments of nice strangeness. Did I forget to mention this album/EP/whatever is actually a 19 minutes track? That’s important. What it means is that it stretches for quite a bit, but I guarantee it doesn’t get boring, although it will require attention. Not feeling like all of this stuff? Check out the instrumental part, which is pretty cool and starts about 9 minutes in, picking up steam around the mark of 12 minutes. I think the style of the instrumental part shows this is a serious effort that is certainly well worth a listen.
One more thing, this is another project by Antonio Freyre, who I reviewed here, together with another guy, called Anoop Ghataora.
Now moving on to Thinkers. The feeling of serious poetry turned to music is there as well. The overall feeling and style is the same as in Dreamers and since I listened to both in a row, at some point I started feeling a bit bored of it. Technically speaking though, there is plenty of variance from song to song. The melodies are always different, but carrying a similar feeling, and the instrumentation is always kind of similar, although there are strange (compared to the pretty straightforward folk everything else) synths scattered around. I can’t help but feel like it worked better in a long-ass track but I am sure not many people will agree with me on this. For most people it would be better to just go to Thinkers and stay there anyhow, even “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” probably isn’t for everyone, and that’s shorter than Dreamers.
Getting a little bit more specific. One of the best tracks in Thinkers is “End of the Means”. Two reasons for this: since the lyrics are more like lyrics and less like a poem, there is more melody to the vocals, making it more pleasing and requiring less active attention to like it. The second reason is that the instrumentation is clearly, clearly inspired by Psychedelic stuff of the dadrock era, but it’s also quite gentle and pretty. The following track, a pretty little stoned instrumental track, even has a sitar, maybe a synth that kind of remembers a sitar. It’s a bit drowned out in reverb, but you get the reference. This plays the role of the instrumental track on Dreamers, showing how musically
pretentious ambitious these guys are. The synth or something stays in place for the last track, which goes the route of “End of the Means”. I could say these are the best tracks, but since they deviate from the norm, they aren’t very representative. it goes more to show that these guys are evolving and will probably aim at something somehow different for their next release.
I meant to say at some point that there is a strong Brian Jonestown Massacre influence, but never got the chance to. That’s kind of the feeling you get, of a even more stoned out BJM (possible?), in a sense that BJM rocks harder, while Wayward just kind of mingles comfortably in this Psychedelic feel. Something else: not sure if this should really be two albums, they would fit awkwardly, but nicely, together in the same way that the aforementioned Dylan song fits in Blonde on Blonde.
Two great fucking albums, I recommend them to everyone and you can’t beat the price of free.