Dreamers of the Ghetto – Enemy/Lover

January 01, 1970

(Temporary Residence)

 

www.temporaryresidence.com

 

Dreamers of the Ghetto is somewhat less than the sum of its
parts, a disappointment since the component pieces are all good ones.  For instance, singer Luke Jones has the kind
of rasp-edged voice that the Psychedelic Furs’ Richard Butler rode to mid-1980s
romantic dominance. His rough tones contrast in interesting, soulful ways with
the gleaming textures that brother Jonathan Jones coaxes out of his six-string
and wife Lauren Jones conjures from synthesizers. Rhythms – that’s Marty
Sprowles playing drums – are hard but reined in, threatening catharsis but
pulling back. Together the four – all related by blood or marriage except the
drummer – shoot for the kind of large-scale, arena-ready grandeur of bands like
U2.

 

And yet, Enemy/Lover is all about immediate gratification. The rush you get the first time through
is pretty much all this album has to offer. The sonics are undeniably
impressive, ragged-cornered soul longing and technologically enhanced guitar
trickery. Yet the songs, over repeat listens, never develop past this
impressive facade. The drama becomes bombast as you realize no tunes are
actually is actually holding up these enormous gestures. Choruses persist
rather than blooming, winning points for steadiness rather than hooks.   “The State of a Dream” slithers and struts
with “Vertigo”-like aplomb, its bass thumping, its guitars coiled and tense,
its drums hard-banging. Yet the pay-off is a nonsensical, not very climatic
refrain of “The state of the dream/that would seem/the state of the dream.”

 

Sadly, it is much easier to improve the way you sound than
the quality of your ideas. This may be as good as it gets for Dreamers of the
Ghetto, and it’s really just fair.

 

DOWNLOAD: “State
of the Dream” JENNIFER KELLY

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