London's The Dreams Of Ridiculous Men has been described as grunge, psychedelia, acid rock and post-rock, from a time before the group had a singer. That's a lot of qualifiers, each of which is very distinctive. This is an early alert that there is something going on with this group of earnest young men. The fact that they are named after an obscure short story from Dostoyevsky is another reason for a double take.
For those familiar with the shorthand, you are already expecting The Dreams Of Ridiculous Men to be a group of literate individuals with interesting song structures and complex textures, based around the basic rock template of guitars, bass, and drums. This, however, misses one of the main points of Is There Any Hope?.
It's not just what The Dreams Of Ridiculous Men are trying to say, it's how they say it. While the concept of dual flying guitar solos lacing and twining around one another is not entirely revolutionary, it comes as a revelation the way they do it, like on the molten rivers of distorted guitar of "Doubt.” Their tone is absolutely sick, exquisitely captured, which casts the performances in a flattering light. The guitars sound great and make you care about the rest of the band.
The Dreams Of Ridiculous Men's mission statement of "Making Melodic Music Loudly" inherently brings to mind the loudQUIETloud acerbic melodicism of The Pixies (or maybe that's just me). It asks the question: if this were a grunge band, what kind would they be? Their clean, ringing guitar lines bring to mind The Pixies, as well as forebears like Television, while the roaring, pyroclastic fuzz worship (like on "Omission"), brings to mind stone cold classics like Dinosaur Jr.
The Dreams Of Ridiculous Men will become shorthand for thick, layered, powerful, intricate guitar rock and that will never fall out of fashion.
The vocals are not my favorite ever, but that's not a deal breaker. The lyrics seem interesting, telling unique stories in a satisfyingly poetic language that will lend itself to repeated deciphering. The Dreams Of Ridiculous Men are an exciting, adventurous and technically proficient group of guitar slingers that are worthy of our time and adulation. Give 'em a spin, and if you're in London, go see them live!
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