The essence of the pop single for me is a song (or songs, maximum 3, absolutely) which you just keep playing, over and over again.
In those terms, the first release from Death to Dreaming qualifies as exquisite pop music because since first listening to these 3 songs I can’t help playing them over and over again.
A little background, first. Death to Dreaming is the new project of Alex Mattinson, formerly of These Single Spies, and the first D2D material was released on Bandcamp to coincide with the release of These Single Spies’ long awaited debut LP, ‘Shipwrecking’.
Given that ‘Shipwrecking’ is well over two years old, it’s understandable that Alex wants to give some indication of where he is musically now.
And on the evidence of the three tracks ‘Monster Mask’, ‘Screen Tests’ and ‘Paris 1’, he may be somewhere a little different but the music is equally magnificent.
Rather than the organic instruments which embellished the These Single Spies sound, Death To Dreaming is draped in velvety 80’s electronics.
I’m tempted to quote the Lightning Seeds as a comparison. But D2D are actually far closer in spirit to another Iain Broudie band, Care. Like Broudie’s earlier collaboration with Paul Simpson D2D offer similar lush melodies and arrangements to construct a sophisticated pop music.
This particularly applies to ‘Monster Mask’ and ‘Screen Test’. ‘Paris 1’ meanwhile is more guitar based, albeit with the same fuller sound as the 2 earlier songs.
On repeated listens of D2D I started to wonder why the number of records in recent years that pass the my pop music test has been less than I might have expected. In the last 12 months I can think only of the 2 Cancel The Astronauts singles and the Withered Hand E.P.
In truth I think that’s down to a lack of time. With a limited amount of time to spread around it seems almost decadent to luxuriate in a small number of tracks. But take my word, Death to Dreaming are an aural luxury you need to be able to find the time for.
Here’s the rather fine lead track:
The three tracks are available at a download on a name your own price deal with the Death to Dreaming Bandcamp.