Arcadia Gardens’ Daniel Rutstrom takes the gentle approach to dreampop. So whilst others add rhythm and beats to keep the music robust, the Tennessee man’s songs are content to drift by on an ambient trip. Having said that, if one would expect ‘Memory Machines’ to be a soporific experience, then one would be incorrect.
1960’s psych informs a surprising amount of this genre and ‘Sun Sphere’ is the main concession to this influence here; recalling at once the fey brilliance of The Drums. The folkier ‘Come Wander With Us’ is another throwback to generations past but Rutstrom doesn’t need to recycle anyone else’s magic this time.
Furthering the chill-out vibe, the dreampop glow of ‘Relax Tonight’ lives up to its title. Elsewhere, the heavenly harmonic glory of My Morning Jacket is recalled for ‘New Sky, Blue Sky’ but ‘Empty Dreams’ ends the album in rather awkward fashion with some tidy analog synths and an unexpected (and not entirely welcome) rock guitar solo.
Flawed ending aside, ‘Memory Machines’ packs in a lot of ideas in to its thirty minute length. The real skill is managing to turn what could be inoffensive background music in to memorable melodies.
My Morning Jacket