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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Dream Sick produces high-grade shoegaze on ‘Morkkis’

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    At the local music level, it’s easy enough for records to come and go in the general consciousness, regardless of how much time or money has been spent on them. With its eponymous first effort in 2011, Tucson native Dream Sick experienced the anxiety of the local musician firsthand.

    The band found a small and faithful audience that acknowledged just how good the album, Dream Sick, was, yet still struggled to be heard in many of the city’s other scenes. From the outset, Dream Sick’s second record, Morkkis, seems aimed at bigger and more immediate sounds than is found in the band’s earlier recordings.

    Opener “A Fool” may not stray too far from the wall of noise that has always marked Dream Sick’s sound, but everything seems tighter and more fully realized. Be it lead singer/guitarist Jess Matsen’s twangy delivery of the song’s central hook, “Afraid I’m a fool just like everyone,” or the intoxicating playing of drummer Matt Baquet, “A Fool” finds Dream Sick at the peak of its powers.

    Dream Sick manages to ride the momentum of its first track all the way through a very solid record that features some good moments for every member. Baquet and bassist/vocalist John Bullock get to show off their chops on cuts like “Sleep At Night” and the excellent “Tiny People,” the latter of which solidifies Baquet and Bullock as one of the best rhythm sections playing consistently in Tucson.

    Elsewhere, guitarist Connor Gallaher tears up his leads on songs like “Wrap Around The Bend,” an energetic song that pairs Gallaher’s impeccable playing with a falsetto hook from Matsen to great effect. Several songs off Morkkis such as “Eden” and first single “Warning” contain some of Matsen’s finest deliveries with the band.

    If there is a complaint to be leveled at Morkkis, it’s the tendency to sound a bit repetitive over the course of its 47 minute run time. However, even when tracks like “Fire In the Fields” or the 7-minute epic “Gone” don’t retain the energy and diversity of other songs, the band still manages to sound tighter and better than half the bands releasing records in Tucson these days.

    Credit goes to Jim Waters, whose tried and true recording methods have been responsible for many a great local album over the years. Yet even a cursory listen of Morkkis will reveal four musicians undeniably at the top of their game, and one can’t help but get excited at remembering that this is only Dream Sick’s sophomore effort. The record closes with “Warning,” the song with the most radio-friendly hook carried proudly by Matsen’s nimble voice.

    In the final moments of “Warning”’s running time, the sounds of processed drums and a keyboard can be heard out of nowhere. It’s a telling moment, signifying a band looking boldly forward and ending one album with the sounds and promise of another. There is no need to rush, though. Morkkis is the sound of Dream Sick earning its keep in Tucson’s big leagues.

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