Release Date: Apr 2, 2013
Record label: Kranky
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Rock, Experimental Rock, Neo-Psychedelia
On Recurring Dream, Implodes refine the eclectic approach they took on Black Earth, where they showed how effortlessly they could bend shoegaze, drone, post-rock, and even metal to their will. As on that album, here the band brings these sounds together in ways that sound both completely natural and creative, and above all, darkly beautiful. "Scattered in the Wind" lives up to its name as swaths of guitar sear and soar over Matt Jencik and Emily Elhaj's vocals, which seem to be tethered to the song's only constant, Elhaj's driving, descending bassline.
By now, the idea of dreams as sleep-preserving wish-fulfilments is surely old news. One of the more defensible of the Freudian speculations, it feeds into the popular notion that aspirations and dreams are fundamentally positive constructs with the important function of directing us towards satiety or “completion. ” Yet the obvious flipside of this, of every conjured glass of water, beautiful (wo)man, or Chinese yuan, is that it involves a negational view of the self, one that frames and constitutes that self entirely in terms of deprivation, lack, and absence.
It was 3 p.m. and sunny my first time through Implodes' Recurring Dream, a mistake I only let myself make once. Dream, like the Chicago drone-rockers' debut Black Earth before it, is inexorably nocturnal music, dank and oily, suffused with creeping dread. Ever hear of highway hypnosis? You pull into the garage after a long drive only to realize you can't really recall the last several hours of your life? That feeling's all over Recurring Dream, a mesmerizing record with a distinctly sinister edge.
Implodes are aptly named. Recurring Dream – the Chicago quartet’s second album, following 2011’s Black Earth – is undoubtedly noisy. But the record’s sound – lots of bass and treble, very little ‘middle’ – makes it sound strangely distant, as if one is listening to a series of loud explosions taking place behind a thick wall. Rather like My Bloody Valentine, Implodes make music that’s simultaneously heavy and light.
On their second album with stalwart experimental label Kranky, Chicago’s Implodes eagerly connect to, and grow from, their past. The swarming, ritualistic “Wendy” stood tall on 2011’s Black Earth, and now, Recurring Dreams opens with its sequel in “Wendy 2”. The progress and influence from that song extends throughout, the frequently sprawling, buzzing pieces walking their own line between post-rock, electronic ambience, and shoegaze.
Implodes, a Chicago ambient quartet, haven’t covered a lot of terrain, yet. Their 2011 Kranky debut Black Earth was deceptively simple ambient-drone fare, weighed down by darkness and small sharp slivers of light. Black Earth‘s album cover—an ominously horror-themed image—captured and distilled their essence in a single image. Here was a band that might be frightening, manipulative, and heavily invested in their musical aesthetic.