Peel Dream Magazine is a band that hankers back to a time when you would listen to a radio late into the night hoping to hear your new favourite band or song.
There was a time when if you wanted to listen to new music the only option was the radio. Hours were spent each day finely tuning through the channels until you had either found what you were looking for, or had adjusted the dial enough that the sound was perfect. One show that you didnât want to miss was the John Peel. The late Radio 1 DJ whose broadcasts defined what musical diversity was, and having eclectic tastes, meant. This was clearly a time that New Yorkâs Peel Dream Magazine, and de-facto leader Joe Stevens, remember fondly, as their name is a part homage to Radio 1 legend.
The opening salvo of track, âArt Todayâ especially, feel like Stereolab performing narco-lounge music. In the hazy mist of synths, there are some captivating melodies. The more you listen intently the more you get lots in its understated grandeur. The most interesting track on the album is âWood Panellingâ. Instead of being a âstandardâ song, the bulk of it consists of cut-up radio broadcasts, some sporting, over a gentle backing track. It is reminiscentÂ of when youâd switch between radio stations as a kid trying to find something to listen to. As âWood Panellingâ progresses, you find yourself understanding less about its themes than you did at the start. Always a plus.
âFiresâ is as delicate as it is exquisite. Filigree guitar riffs dance over synths and a gently strummed acoustic guitar. âInteriorsâ has more bite to it than other tracks on Modern Meta Physic. The slightly harder synths and drumming really compliment Stevenâs vocals. âUpper Body Calaestheticsâ is Eastern-tinged with sitars and tablas. Its hypnotic melodies work incredibly well with the every droning synths. The only downside is that its over as soon as it gets going. The album closes with the semi-instrumental âDonât Pickup Slackersâ that incorporates the sound collage of âWood Panellingâ, but instead of jumping from sample-to-sample sticks with just one, adding a level of cohesion and narrative flow.
The real standout moments are when Peel Dream Magazine go off piste a bit. âWood Panelingâ, âLevitating Between 2 Chordsâ and âUpper Body Calaestheticsâ are abstract in their composition and break up the more traditional songs. It hints that this isnât a band just focused on verse/chorus/verse song-writing, and under the surface, they want to be more abstract and cerebral.
Peel Dream Magazine are a band that hankers back to a time when you would listen to a radio late into the night hoping to hear your new favourite band or song. Sometimes youâd wake up an remember something only to find out much later that it was a dream. At times âModern Meta Physicâ feels like that song. Everything is slow, lurid and woozy, but there is something about it that stops you drifting off. This is an album that grows stronger with each play and slowly starts to take over your psyche.