Intimate Dream – Wonderful Thing
It’s hard to find hard rock that actually rocks AND with enough pop hooks to make it memorable. Too many bands thing you just have to plug in, set amps to “11” and be louder than everybody else. Rock music is an amalgamation of volume, power and the ability to construct a song that people actually want to listen to. Intimate Dream shows that they have a grasp of the essential fundamentals on Wonderful Thing. They aren’t quite delivering “life-changing” rock music just yet, but I’ll be damned if they’re not doing a whole lot of things right on this extended-play gem.
I hesitate to call Intimate Dream a “they” because it’s primarily the work and writing of one man, Hugh Faulds. Now of course Hugh can’t go it alone with the type of songs he’s writing and he’s assembled himself a sturdy backing band to cover bass, drums, back-up vocals and keys, for the hearty full-band experience that a listener craves. You can tell these cats are into what they play. The title track is the perfect combination of hard rock chops and pop song structuring with an infectiously crafted chorus, expressive singing and incisive, organic jamming that straddles a few fences along the way. It has an FM radio feel with the requisite catchiness but the playing is rockin’ and varied in the way of Mellencamp, Petty and Matchbox 20 combining their differing styles into one. More of the same can be said about “In Your Head,” although Faulds ups the ante of his guitar surgery with a performance that’s dripping with blood, sweet and orneriness; the hooks are still there yet the vocals are acerbic in getting their point across with the guitars, drums and bass charging headlong into battle in a display of religious fervor.
“Mine Alone” settles for an ember-burnt; slower tempo and highly melodic guitar flourishes. Hugh utilizes an entirely different facet of his vocal chords throughout and the guitar-work is controlled but still full of distorted leads, solos and heavier chord patterns. The full-on thud of “Space Girl” opens with a real barnburner of a riff… it’s almost beamed in directly from the heavy metal arena, but eschews the overly aggressiveness for something from the Led Zeppelin playbook. The rhythm section really deepens this piece up and the bass lines make use of plucky, finger picked melodies that stick to the ribs. Again proving their chameleon-like, shadow-shifting abilities, “Slow Down” is a rock song that eschews modern pomp and circumstance for the kind of sock hop booty shake that’s been an anomaly since the 60s passed us by. Here, riffs aren’t part of the equation as piano, red hot licks and rhythmic hubbub conjures up some madness you can really wiggle your toes to. The acapella reprise of Wonderful Thing is rooted in r & b vocal goodness with a myriad of voices converging into a singular unforgettable melody. There are simply no limits or boundaries to Intimate Dream’s sound and no music that one can directly compare it to. Wonderful Thing is an EP that eats like an LP and anyone that’s not satisfied by its magical tones need a better set of ears, pronto!
8 out of 10 stars.