Intimate Dream – Wonderful Thing
This is a cool disc. It’s an EP so don’t expect a lengthy experience and there is also some cluttered ideas and arrangements that seem to blow by too fast without giving you a chance to get too comfortable with any one song for too long, yet Intimate Dream have a lot of charms and treasures to behold all throughout Wonderful Thing.
There’s not a lot of information about the band to found on the Internet just yet as they are a fairly new lot. Hugh Faulds is the eldest member; the captain, mentor and point-man, leading his young squadron into the fray with his own brand of rock music that shoots from the hip. This is well-composed, solidly played and passionate stuff. It won’t win an award for defying genres or its complexity but if its meaty guitars, bluesy rhythm players and generally traditional song-craft that you’re after, Wonderful Thing has it in spades.
The production is airtight, highlight and accenting the guitars along with the vocals while maintaining prominence on the rhythm work. Keys are also a supporting player in a few songs, whether it is the hymnal organ of “Mine Alone” or the wildfire ivory tinkling of “Slow Down,” and they are a welcome while not being overused. These things should clue you in that this is a hard album to pin down to a tangible aesthetic. Each track has its own bells n’ whistles and though there is no huge departure from song to song, there isn’t a lot of cookie-cutter, paint by numbers stuff happening either. Opener “Wonderful Thing” is an understated love song with the bass calling as many of the shots as the guitar. Aside from a few amplified leads, this baby keeps it pretty clean and practically demands the listener to pump it while cruising down the highway with the convertible top down. “In Your Head” goes the Springsteen route, adding electricity to the guitar work; leads, solos and riffs delivered through a steamy wall of distortion.
Perhaps the most exciting work is done occurs on the furious rock n’ roller “Space Girl.” Faulds solo is a lengthy one; winding, writhing and climbing its way to glory in the tradition of masterful guitarists like Joe Bonamassa. The only tune that doesn’t pull its weight is the acapella gospel of the closer. It’s a different version of the opener without instruments. On an album stocked to the rafters with high-proof rock n’ roll; it’s hard to justify its exclusion. Perhaps Intimate Dream only had so many things fleshed for the studio and had to fill up space in a hurry. Either way, it doesn’t make sense in the context of the other tracks.
Faulds and company still hit more than they miss and their throwbacks to classic rock feel authentic and spontaneous. When the band is hot, it’s almost impossible to suggest way in which they could improve; they know what they are doing and how to get it done. Wonderful Thing is an eye-catching start to their career, and one can only wonder where their journey into the art form will take them on the next album.
8 out of 10 stars.