Kill Scenes’ latest release, In Dreams could itself be the soundtrack to a dream, which is appropriate for a project that seeks to create soundtracks to imaginary films. Like a dream, it switches moods and styles frequently and at times without warning. Fortunately, this record is largely a pleasant dream.
In Dreams was made possible by two Whitakers. Sean Whitaker is the mastermind behind the whole project, and the album was mastered by Tom Whitaker, who has Iggy Pop(!!!) among his credits.
Despite its gloomy title, “Presence Noir” starts the album off on an upbeat, dancy note. Following that is the title track, which is often sparse and percussion-driven. The drums often take the lead throughout this disc, not unlike some of Florence + The Machine’s most notable work, such as “Dog Days are Over.” This can also be heard on “Extinction Blues,” which is not a blues song at all, but a piano-laden pop track with reverb-drenched guitar adding ambiance lower in the mix. Guitar riffs and leads can be heard on other songs such as “Like a Vulture,” and “Ghost Pines” but again, washed out in reverb as opposed to front and center. Synths are the meat and bones of In Dreams.
There are a couple notable exceptions to this rule: “New Flowers” is probably the most retro of the bunch, with heavy 80s influence. complete with a shreddy guitar solo towards the end.
As its name suggests, “Skull Wall” takes a heavier, more guitar-driven, almost industrial track. “The Silent Reel” is probably the most hip hop oriented track of the record.
“Persona Mecanique” is perhaps appropriately almost entirely instrumental and more machine-like.
All in all, In Dreams is an eclectic, magic mushroom-fueled dream of an album. At times a bit mushy and blurry, but it opens with a bang and sticks the landing. Just beware, the gloom-and doom song titles belie a surprisingly danceable and happy-sounding record, but beneath that lie dark undertones, a la Foster the People’s “Pumped up Kicks.” In this way, it’ll fit your mood whether you want to get up and move or sit down and brood.