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One of the key albums of the 1980s,
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This review is from: The Days Of Wine And Roses: (Expanded) (Audio CD)
Released in 1982, the Dream Syndicates debut is an outstanding piece of music. The dramatic tension and introverted lyricism that pervades the album is reminiscent of the work of Television, Talking Heads and the Go-Betweens amongst others. However, their overall sound is nevertheless distinctive and original. The harmonies are somewhat unsettling and abrasive and the lyrics tell stories of alienation, depravity and terror that reflect a kind of raw realism.
They were not only the first band of the 1980s to comment on the nightmares of their generation in the manner of Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, but they were unquestionably the best. Their exceptional achievement was to conflate this neo-Reed-ian-Dylan angst with the sounds of the new-wave and bridge them with the emerging pyschedelic revival of the period. So although the sound of the band belonged to the pyschedlic revival of those years, it transcends it, resulting in distinctive vibrant energized licks.
'Tell Me When It's Over' is a beautifully constructed melodic ballad in which guitar patterns weave amongst rapid-fire drum patterns.
'Definetly Clean' pounds a maniacal rhythmic beat amid clipped guitars and whelping vocals.
The controlled pace continues with 'That's What You Always Say'. Hynotic riffs propel the song forward with purpose.
'Then She Remembers' is an hallucegenic trip of frantic drumming accompanying swirling jingle jangle guitars.
'Halloween' features some fine solo guitar work. The lyrical refrain "Don't believe anything you see on tv cos they'll never happen to you" reflects the cynical response to the saturated media-age.
'When You Smile' opens up with a blast of guitar feedback followed by opening lines that echo the Velvets: "Last night I dreamt I was born a thousand years ago". The song is a crescendo of smooth and rough.
'Until Lately' nods towards the Blues/Beat of Manfred Mann or Them's 'Baby Please Don't Go', whilst 'Too Little Too Late' is a fatal swoon in the mould of Nico.
The closing 'The Days Of Wine And Roses' is an epic tour de force of punkabilly Hoedown and sinister psychotic hyper-realism.
'Days Of Wine And Roses' is one of the key albums of the 1980s.