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The Addiction Dream - Essence CD (album) cover

ESSENCE

The Addiction Dream

 

Crossover Prog

3.69 | 28 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Attention Tea Club fans

Typically I'll listen to an album weeks or months before writing about it but after a few spins at work today I could not resist getting the ball rolling on this fine debut. The title above refers to the fact that during my first play, I almost fell off my chair at how much some of the vocals and even certain bits of playing and mood reminded me of my favorite Northeast American band, the mighty Tea Club. Far across the country the Portland based trio The Addiction Dream note Floyd and Radiohead as influences but if you're like me you may find an uncanny similarity to the mellower side of Rabbit-era Tea Club. While I'm guessing they've never heard of each other, I don't think I'll be the last prog rock writer to mention this. Of course there are significant differences as well but I had to mention my initial experience.

"Essence" is quite simply a fantastic and impressive debut with songs that pull you in emotionally and hold your interest. Haunting and somewhat fragile vocals very much in the McGowan brother style are the first thing you'll notice, though Jason O'Neill-Butler does not go into vocal overdrive as often, he's a tad more reserved. I'm not sure if he is self-harmonizing or doing so with keyboardist Jacob Savage, or both, but whatever the case the results are just beautiful. Beyond the great vocals the two create spellbinding avenues on keys and guitar, I love all the piano that Savage employs. Last but by no means least is the drumming of Paul Hardie who, and sorry to repeat myself, but more than once reminded me of Kyle Minnick. I'll stop now.

They show talent beyond their years here with thoughtful songwriting and lots of little extras that make it special. Plenty of mood and beauty come courtesy of occasional strings from Owen Hofmann-Smith and Sharon Cannon. They use some cool environmental sounds and samples to great effect on several songs. The opening of "Insatiable" is some clip of a scientist talking about how loneliness is one of the only things medicine can't help us deal with, it works so well with the music that follows, melancholic yes yet oddly comforting at the same time. It continues into "Conservative" and "Dark Skies" with this spookily beautiful music and singing contrasting the fairly depressing yet poetic lyrics. The wind chimes were a great transition, loved that! The closer "Survivor" was another gem with alternating piano runs and guitar harmonics setting off the harmonies, eventually some raucous guitar crunching in as the drums hold things together. Great development here and some cool, odd synths in the background as well.

Rich, occasionally heavy but more often subtle, lovely yet turbulent, "Essence" is an album that I believe will thrill many fans of crossover prog and indie rock. An authentic and intimate sound which eclipses most of those popular, mechanical sounding bands that put me to sleep. I'm impressed.

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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