There will be no prizes for guessing what kind of music The Stargazer Lilies are offering with their debut ‘We Are The Dreamers’. Add together the knowledge that core band members John Cep and Kim Field served time in Soundpool and we obviously have some classic shoegaze/dreampop on our hands. Doubtlessly the term “classic” being attached to this genre will be a contradiction in terms for some but this record is a powerful and rather brilliant return to head-bobbing music for the disaffected.
The title track and album opener is a real barnstormer with ghostly female vocals straight from the Lush school of indie rock, backed up by shuddering layers of reverb and crashing guitars. It’s dramatic and huge sounding and ended by a haunting fade-out. Naturally, after this excellent start, it would be hard to maintain this form and sure enough the following song, ‘Del Rey Mar’ seems to be acoustic-based, float away pop initially but then the FX pedals begin to dominate as if in direct battle with the pure vocals. The competition is less closely fought for ‘Undone’ where there’s too much noise and not enough melody but it’s a rare error of judgment on an otherwise wonderfully-produced album.
Cep and Field draw on older influences than you might think. ‘How We Lost’ seems to be on the threshold of breaking into a cover of The Hollies ‘The Air That I Breathe’ whereas the gorgeous ‘Don’t Waste My Time’ harks back to 60’s girl groups complete with the obligatory Wall Of Sound. Drawing on more expected influences, the cavernous production on ‘Endless Days’ recalls ‘Head Over Heels’-era Cocteau Twins and the trippy ‘Sad Colored Days’ is blissful heaven. As we reach the conclusion, it seems entirely appropriate that the last track is a fragile, uncomplicated little thing and the spare folk of ‘Because’ definitely doesn’t disappoint on that score.
Granted, ‘We Are The Dreamers’ could do with one or two variations in tempo from the default setting of slow to mid-paced. That mild criticism aside though, The Stargazer Lilies have raised their game significantly since the Soundpool days and it’s impressive the way these songs, in their own special way, seem like a soundtrack to the end of the world.
The Stargazer Lilies Official Site
Graveface Records Label and Shop Site
Pure Volume Album Stream of The Stargazer Lilies’ ‘We Are The Dreamers’
Video of The Stargazer Lilies’ ‘Endless Days’
Lush, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive