4 years after their delicately-textured and elegantly-crafted debut EP Help Me Recollect, Boston-duo It Was a Good Dream return with their highly-anticipated debut full-length record, Rememory. Started as a one 15-minute-long jam studio session, the sophomore release by the masters of gentle catharsis doubles down on many of the salient points of the sold out debut EP, while sprawling convincingly into new and exciting territories.
Rememory is a 45-minute journey into the power of memories, or how subtle hints and sounds can trigger intense feelings of joy, melancholia, beauty and gratitude, sadness and sorrow. Rememory is a masterclass in bending the constricting boundaries of post-rock and verse-chorus-verse composition, to explore a deeper connection between music and the listener. The album opens with the placid yet bombastic duo “Thick Water” and “A Decoration for Your Time” and already we feel immersed in an album that is equal parts gentle and bombastic, enigmatic and intricate yet harmonious and immediate. Continuing down this path, Rememory expands its repertoire with a more prominent use of synth and electronics, juxtaposed with the intricate weaving of Alex Glover’s guitars. Case in point, the beautifully gentle “Drawing Your Recurve”, a real ode to the power and warmth of gentle recollection. After gently taking its listeners down this imaginative memory lane, Rememory clocks out with a sprawling suite just shy of the 20-minute mark:
“We had this idea to record a song that spanned 5 movements,” says guitarist/producer Alex Glover. “Asking your audience to listen to such a long piece…it’s a big ask. But we had a story to tell and we wanted to make it worth it for everyone who chose to spend their time with us. We treated it like a classical piece and filled every moment with as much life as we could conjure up. The more we dove into that song and the feelings it conveyed to us, the more we realized we had to take it further.” Aptly titled “Spooling Lines Into the Deep”, the song truly suggests looking deep into the unknown with a vague sense of familiarity and comfort and marching straight on into the darkness ahead. Facing the unknown while knowing that all will be alright in the end, and that you’ll be right where you are meant to.
The truly remarkable aspect of Rememory lies in how these songs all feel and sound connect by an invisible thread, how they recall and hint back at each other, how similar and familiar yet different and unique they sound. “Aspects of every song on this record can be traced back to Spooling in some way,” adds drummer/designer Chris Anthony. “It was really cool to start with this big destination in mind and work out the chapters from there.” Rememory is truly is more than the sum of its part, and feels more like a cohesive 42-minute long journey than a collection of tracks. Here everything is carefully composed, restrained and measured, yet moves easily and with confidence eases into the listener’s mind and ears. We can guarantee that spending your next hour in It Was A Good Dream’s company will fully reward you. Nothing here feels superfluous, every fine detail lives on of its own purpose lingering on long after the album bids its melancholic yet joyful farewell.
The record is complemented by the mysterious and enigmatic artwork of the front cover, which fits the music perfectly, adding a further layer to an album that makes of layers its strongest suit. There’s so much here to find, to peel off and explore, and most importantly to discover on own our using our senses and memories as guidance. With its colour contrasts and its playing with shapes and allusions and oneiric memories, the cover art is truly reminiscent of Dalí and De Chirico, two masters of surrealism and of channeling the powers of dreams and illusions to trigger real-life memories and emotions. Rememory shimmers with the light of a fire flickering in a cold dark night, offering refuge and warmth. It brims with joy and candour and flickers with the same hope as that fire, gently fluttering, bending, but not breaking against the wind. Body and soul, sounds and images, Rememory truly is the total package.