Dream City Film Club
In the Cold Light of Morning
I was savagely disappointed with the Dream City Film Club’s first recordl the name doesn’t matter, I want no confusion obscuring this new record. The first song was a brilliant dirge, the rest was blah, blah. In London, a few months later, I saw the Dream City Film Club live, and they previewed a few new numbers, reworked old numbers, and radiated self-destructive contempt. This band was on to something.
Over a year later, I finally have the payoff in my eager little hands. In the Cold Light of Morning is the record Dream City has promised me since I first saw their name in the NME . I may be going out on a limb, but In the Cold Light… is better than O.K. Computer , is as close to In Utero as the British will ever get, and is the definitive eulogy to 20th Century Brit-pop culture as we head into the Armageddon. Savor this. Self-hate doesn’t get any better.
“Killer Blow” opens and sets the tone for the rest of the album, the pure distillation of regret with terse raw lyrics, “I was grinning in my dirtbowl/when you called.” In the Cold Light… is divided between quiet contemplative numbers and abrasive bursts of hate. “Nerveshot,” “Billy Chic,” “Fuck It Up,” and “Stooge” are self-immolative and damning, cavernous drums and buzzsaw guitar threatening to swallow up contemptuous lyrics that constantly make mention of cocaine. Maybe this is a comedown record, then. “Spitting And Stumbling,” an ugly account of drunken disorientation, “Country Paranoia,” and “Sarah In Dreams” certainly fit the role. Nothing like that morning-after-regret laced with blood.
Two other songs spring to mind in summing up the Dream City Film Club circa 1999, “The Curse” and “God Will Punish the Pervert Preacher.” “The Curse,” in all honesty, is a silver-tongued lament that edges out Smog’s “I Break Horses,” as the most lucid anti-love song ever. We’ve exhausted the love song idiom, it’s pointless, to hear vocalist Michael Sheehy beg for his ex-lover and her new flame to “choke on each other’s tongues” is beautiful. The other song is the epic-length “God Will Punish the Pervert Preacher,” which is a monument. Dream City Film Club spared nothing in this song, and they lay their dark claim to the twin thrones of Spiritualized’s gospel-of-the-stars and Godspeed You Black Emperor’s sandblasted urban symphonies. Welcome to the rest of your life.
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