By today’s standards, the album’s main uniqueness comes mostly from the lyrics and themes that one may or may not pay attention to, and it does well to exemplify the strengths – interesting sounds, neat harmonic progressions, clear intent – and the weaknesses – sameness in textural layering, too delicate with the melodic layer – of this growing sect of modern rock.

This album’s uniqueness and purpose is found mostly within the timely themes brought out through their lyrics, and the persistent male falsetto voice added uniqueness on top of that. While the words are certainly important, as a work of music, this is merely another example of the triumphs and shortcomings typically found with albums under today’s umbrella of indie rock. This ever-growing movement of sophisticated songwriting, production, and meaning while maintaining a sense of toughness and purity, which is my loose definition for this “indie rock” umbrella, has created the most consistent quality of musical output in recent years. A Fever Dream exemplifies that, stringing together constant successful decisions with regards to synthetic instrumentation, harmonic progression, and clean delivery of intent. In 11 different attempts, there were three or four strong and grasping songs where everything came together well, and the rest still had some merit in their own way. It’s the work of smart musicians not fully tied to making a profit with something important to say, and that’s all a work needs to find some sort of worth. That shows the triumphant side of this sect of music, but it’s nothing that’s going to produce an all-around success on its own. While the triumphs ultimately outweigh the shortcomings, there were some key areas for improvement. A minor one is the textural layering, which despite having found neat sounds never quite produced anything meaningful in terms of contrast or organization. Another is the simple trial and error with harmonic loops; some were more developed and used better chords than others. That’s just something to live with. The main downfall of the work, and of the general indie rock umbrella, is that it was too delicate with the melodic layer. Only a handful of today’s bands overcome this consistently. In trying to create a succinct, well-produced work, the melodies often time blended into the fray and became too attached to everything around it. Only a couple of choruses had moments where the melody came to life. Even in trying to sound sleek and clean, the melody should still carry weight and be a focal point. It’s still a cool work of music, and one to check out especially if you pride yourself on being musically up to date and culturally aware.

Melodic Intrigue: 29
Harmonic Creativity: 37
Timbral Effectiveness: 37
Intangible Influence: 22

Final Score: 125/180

 

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