Andrew McKenzie’s songs previously found their home on Grand Prix records and one solo outing but he seems now to have fully established the perfect place for them, Golden Curtain’s first album, English Tuning was a soft-release across 2012 before arriving “proper” last year. So now Dream City feels like a very swift follow-up – it certainly shows the band’s first album (a glorified demo really – but wonderful songs) was no fluke at all. Here (almost) everything’s bigger, brighter and well, probably better too – but I still play English Tuning often. What Dream City has, ultimately, is the feel that the band is now a band, featuring Andrew Gladstone (Garageland) on drums, McKenzie on vocals and guitar and Brad Gamble on bass this Napier-based trio sounds really huge on the opener here, Canyons of The Dream. It’s almost reminiscent of Chris Cornell’s early solo records. Network Space nips at its heels and I think of Bob Mould. Great indie touchstone, sure, but there’s just something in the older-head-making-power-pop-burst of this that reminds me of Mould’s Silver Age.
The title track is a highlight before the almost-churn of It Was You, something that might have showed up down the line if The Muttonbirds had kept making records.
English Tuning might actually have been the better record now I think about it – more consistent, something charming about it arriving out of nowhere, no expectations. But where this new album stands up is in the highlights – there’s one or two nearly-filler moments here (Don’t Let Go Of Me, Talking In A Dream) but the peaks are wonderful, including the lovely wallow and shimmer of the closing Conversations with The Dead – recalling McKenzie’s solo album.
I like, too, that this band just meanders along, its own entity. Making music for themselves – not trying to fit into any scene. Plenty of good stuff from them already and it seems more to come.
Give this one a whirl. And go back for the debut if you haven’t heard it already. (And McKenzie’s solo record too – both are available as “name your price” deals via the Bandcamp links above).