This Can’t Be Real is the solo project of Dalton Geyer, who formally played bass with a band called Quixote’s Revolver. Whether you’ve heard of them or not, it is clear that he has kept that band mentality and tried to create a multi-layered piece with a sound seemingly larger than one man. He is currently living in Huntington Beach, California where this project was conceptualized in September 2015.
The four-track Prayers EP opens with “On Your Knees.” An ominous, atmospheric guitar line echoes across a hazy soundscape. A chipped, cracked drum beat supports the music madness, driving it ever onwards along with Geyer’s reverberating, soothing singing. Alongside these sweet, dark sounds comes the occasional bout of dissonance, bordering on that fine line between twisted beauty and out-of-tune noise. What’s most interesting, I think, is that Geyer has nailed a unique sound without being different for the sake of it.
“Tested Faith” takes a different route after the distorted, blurry, shoegaze-esque noise of the opener. Acoustic guitar, and a tempered, quiet drum beat drive this melodic, sweet little tune. Geyer opts for the same stunningly-soft vocals. There’s no point in changing what already works perfectly, so I definitely dug the consistency, yet difference between the first and second track.
“Tested Faith” is a bluesy atmospheric journey with hints of darkness, in the same way as the first, but offers more of a driven, straightforward rock sound. The most hauntingly beautiful melody, however, comes on “Lucy,” which combines ethereal, otherworldly, distant noises with a driven drum beat, acoustic guitar and the faintest hint of strings. Geyer’s vocals sink deeper into gloomy, soothing tones. He multi-layers his own vocals, self-harmonizing and doing so incredibly. At the climax of the song, the softest cacophony of noise I’ve ever heard builds behind vocals promising ‘You won’t take me alive’ and this ending couldn’t be more perfect.
“Benediction” is an intriguing close to an EP which is beautifully consistent, but strikingly varied. This sweet, instrumental melody comes in at five minutes and boasts elements of Radiohead influence, much like the other tracks. The key similarity, of course, is Geyer’s love for unique sounds and dissonance throughout the EP. If you like your music peculiarly beautiful, then this is something worth listening to.
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