Recurring Dream

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On Recurring Dream, Implodes refine the eclectic approach they took on Black Earth, where they showed how effortlessly they could bend shoegaze, drone, post-rock, and even metal to their will. As on that album, here the band brings these sounds together in ways that sound both completely natural and creative, and above all, darkly beautiful. "Scattered in the Wind" lives up to its name as swaths of guitar sear and soar over Matt Jencik and Emily Elhaj's vocals, which seem to be tethered to the song's only constant, Elhaj's driving, descending bassline. "Melted Candle" is almost unbearably bleak, with a tempo that's somewhere in between headbanging and nodding off and a despairing feel to its half-hidden singing, but there's a purity to its emotional intensity that's strangely gorgeous. Given that Implodes have two singers as well as equally powerful and present guitars and synths, they have a lot of elements, as well as a lot of options, in their music. They deploy them artfully and with a surprising amount of versatility, moving from the Grouper-like acoustic drones of "Prisms and the Nature of Light" -- Recurring Dream's lone, tiny ray of sunshine -- to the cavernous closing track, "Bottom of a Well," without feeling scattered or contrived. Elsewhere, "Sleepyheads"' almost-pop and the fury of "Ex Mass" show how the band's breadth and depth have only grown since the Black Earth days. Like its namesake phenomenon, Recurring Dream's songs are a fascinating mix of elusiveness and inevitability that only grows richer with repeated listening.

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