DGRS

Dream On Dreamy

(Self-released; 2011)

By Kaylen Hann | 11 August 2011

Whether it’s the collaborative momentum of DGRS (Degrees) duo Mikael Jacobson (also of the Trick, Late Night Conversations) and Rickard Folke (Boygirlme) that propels them from Sweden’s nowhereland micropolis, Tranås—from what I’ve gleaned, if Sweden had a version of The Office, it’d probably be set in Tranås—or whether it’s the jib-cut it takes to start from scratch after a complete data loss: their first self-released LP, Dream On Dreamy, is a surprising instance of shoegaze with a fucklot of fortitude.

Ambitious-of-length (with tracks reaching over six minutes), epic-of-climax, and more than generous with climactic moments, the album flows like a celebratory champagne bottle uncorked in slow-mo. Drunk on distortion, the fizzy vibe’s drenched with power rock and “believe-in-yourself”-ness that would be seriously dorky if it wasn’t so beautiful to counter. Stuck in the most aspirational buzz of an ecstatic high, the vocals of gradually building opener “The Great Big Void” go to my head in a “Tiny Bubbles” kinda way, the song climbing and spinning into a delirium that becomes so inebriated and determined to dance the stars out of its own eyes—that even when it and its fellow celebrating tracks have a moment of stillness, the room seems to do all the spinning.

Contrary to the lackadaisical beach reclining that happens among contemporaries, Dream On Dreamy provides little by way of respite or lying around. Having resisted becoming flabby in the summer heat, and having been tasked with epic ballad climbs, there’s muscular build under all those perspiring synths and feel-good, metallic, summer hazes. Through the galloping rhythms of the second track, “Oakland Mountain High,” Dream On Dreamy is an album which sets an initially lofty goal and continues to escalate track after track with a laser show and fog machine kind of sound to progressively blossoming “At Least Rock & Roll Won’t Leave a Hole In My Back.”

Eight-minute track “Idiot Dreaming,” with its gratuitous climb and increasingly higher reaching vocals on the chorus, is like Sigur Rós with a runner’s dedication and a dancefloor’s myopia, only relaxing on the seventh track, “A New Dawn Fades, A New Dawn Waits”: imagine the heartbreaking outro from Coppola’s The Outsiders with a more spacey heartbrokenness and atmospheric blips.

Chalk it up to probable ESL, but Dream On Dreamy doesn’t have either the ironic snarl or the beachside torpor I’ve come to expect from not only the shoegaze genre but shoegaze bands that slather the word “dream” all over their titles. While Jacobson and Folke list amongst their influences and inspirations “headaches,” it seems more like that’s something hovering in the future, on the other end of this album’s eventual coming down. Because this is a highest of high kind of albums, enjoy it with a fistful of Advil. Already flickering with tunnelvision, you just know this shit’s gonna hurt in the morning.

:: degrees.bandcamp.com