Overall Score: 9/10 Vocals: 9/10 Memorable Songs: 8/10 Repeat Listen Value: 9/10 Pros: Huge hooks | Great vocals | Makes you want to listen again and again Cons: Over way too soon
South Wales quintet Dream State have been anywhere and everywhere in the last eight months. Chances are if you pay any attention to the current rock and metal scene, you’ll have caught at least half a glimpse of them, either at any of the major festivals, or on YouTube or Spotify where they are racking up ever growing playcounts.
At the source of all this is Recovery, their first EP since signing to major label UNFD. For a band to get picked up by a label this early in their career, they usually have to have something about them. In Dream State’s case, that is the biggest understatement one could make. Despite “only” being a five track EP, clocking in around the twenty minute mark, CJ, Aled, Sam, Jamie and Danny have created one of the most essential releases of the year.
Opening proceedings is White Lies, the single that kicked off the whirlwind of the last twelve months for Dream State. The opening lines “I’ve got a confession, I’ve got a secret, on the tip of my tongue and it’s bleeding out” make it quite clear from the off that is a band with a story to tell, and they tell it exceptionally well. The mix of melodic periods punctured by bursts of heavy riffs and thunderous drumming are all brought together by vocalist CJ’s quite incredible range and variety. Flipping from softly spoken to full powered diva-esque vocals would be impressive for any frontwoman, but when you factor in that CJ can also throw in Chester Bennington style harsh vocals at the drop of a hat, it’s evident that we have a special band on display here.
While the whole EP is hugely enjoyable, there are two other stand out tracks to go with the aforementioned White Lies. Help Myself is an angst ridden tale of struggles with mental health with CJ’s harsh vocals turned up to eleven for a good portion of the track. Her vocal performance is so full of genuine anger, frustration and ferocity it is almost impossible not to be drawn in and swept along with the song, which features a wonderful interlude which has some of the most succint lyrics on any record released this year so far. That same interlude then suddenly turns on its head at the end with one of the heaviest breakdowns you’ll hear all year long.
Closing the EP is New Waves, a track that could almost be described as the counterpart to Help Myself, for while it covers some of the same subject material, it has a positive tone and an uplifting message throughout about wanting a fresh start. CJ is again excellent, but the other members of the band also come to the fore more so than on other tracks, making New Waves a perfect showcase of everything that Dream State are capable of.
For a band to be this good this early on in their career is almost frightening. Dream State have released one of the must hear EP’s of 2018, and this is clearly only the start. On this form, the sky is the limit as to how good they can be.
Recovery is out now on UNFD.