In some Blade-Runner-type future, nighttime rain beats against the windshield of your black 80s Corvette as you speed down the highway just outside the city. The colorful neon signs in Japanese characters glow to remind you just how hollow you’ve become. You turn on the radio and are treated to the sounds of…
…“Death Dream,” the third and most recent LP from songwriter, performer, producer and mixer Trevor Something. In a word, his stylings could be called “synthwave,” a modern music movement that aims to recreate the synth-laden sounds of 1980s pop.
Yet, even if The Human League really isn’t your bag, fans of industrial and vaporwave are sure to delight in this 15-track release.
The album opens with “If I Die,” a perfect example of Something’s ability to generate thick, deep vocals and position them perfectly in the frame of a soundscape. Thankfully, the vocals stay consistently great throughout the rest of the tracks, always so ethereal, yet massive.
One of the first bread-and-butter songs off the album comes in the form of “The Touch of Your Skin,” with a classic, driving industrial tempo under repetitive dark synths. So nicely distorted are the electronics on this track/album, fans of Nine Inch Nails will find themselves right at home.
Immediately following “The Touch of Your Skin” comes “Artificial Feelings,” another premier song that stuck with me after the others began to fade. Here, Something shows off his admirable ability to “chop up” percussion and vocals, resulting in a broken-computer sort of vibe. It could even be said this track shows trap influences, featuring 808 drum patterns and distant, yet not sheepish, bass.
Without a doubt, my favorite track off this album is #8, “Your Sex Is A Dream.” Once again, we are serenaded with deep, distorted bass and a “chopped up” synth lead. Trevor’s haunting refrain seems vaguely discordant with the instrumental melody, adding a misty, bittersweet appeal. And of course, the lyrical content of the song is touchingly melancholy.
“Your sex is a dream / and I don’t want to wake up” represents a big theme in most vaporwave and dystopia – pleasures that ultimately do not fulfill. In terms of production, songwriting and significant subject matter, “Your Sex Is A Dream” is the take-home track off “Death Dream.”
On the whole, this album shines bright. Indeed, the crowning achievement of “Death Dream” is its dark aesthetic given life by masterful production and lavish synth textures.
As fans have noted, it is far more sinister and “real” than his last free release, “Trevor Something Doesn’t Exist.”
So trot over to his Bandcamp page, download “Death Dream” (for free, if you want!), and keep on cruising down that dystopian highway.