"Tears From The Night Sky" (Album, 2014)
Second long player from UK synthpop duo David Crouch and Gem Davison sees a welcome evolution in the sound direction but not at the expense of Crouch's clear love for a damn good stomping tune. Of the 10 tracks, more than half lift the BPMs higher and the results deliver on their presumed objective. Presuming that objective is to get a club going audience moving their butts in time with the beats.
However, as is often the way with me, its the more introspective writing that interests (and impresses) me the most. Entitling your album Tears From The Night Sky suggests all kinds of poetic and moving potential and, satisfyingly, when the BPMs are down at the lower end of the spectrum the success rate rises further.
A curious dynamic is arising in the writing, where the desire to write music to dance to sits alongside music to reflect on. As age descends on youth I suspect Crout will either transform Dreams Divide into something quite different, or start another project to focus on his less 'immediate' compositional side. Whatever the future holds, I watch and listen with affectionate curiosity. 7/10
Blending elements of synthpop, industrial and goth, UK act Dreams Divide (David Crout: vocals/synths/programming, Gem Davison: vocals/synths, Richard Wright: live synth) come together on this their self-released debut album (currently available via the Bandcamp website). It's a familiar list of artists that give them inspiration, but a taste also for the rockier side of things gets reflected in some stylistic touches that sees Puppet Love span genre boxes rather than neatly slot into one of them.
Opener John really makes me think of Geoff (Tenek/The Nine) Pinckney’s style of composition with its large, swish synth pads strings and a firm pop song sensibility. Desire sounds like a Ministry of Sound remixed Edge of Dawn, whilst others up the trance backing – which is definitely no bad thing in my book - and could translate well live. Complex could almost have been on the last Devo album, and to me represents a space where Dreams Divide stand out the most. Its memorably jaunty chorus is a gloriously manipulative melody up there with the best electronic pop. Had it all been closer to this then, this may well have earned extra points. As it stands, it just lacks a little consistency, a special something to recommend unconditionally. Nevertheless, all the right elements are present to step this up another level, I reckon a bit more introspection and digging a bit deeper could produce a really distinctive second album that bucks the difficult ‘second album’ trend. We'll see… In the meantime let’s mark Puppet Love up at a very respectable: 7/10
Rob Dyer (July 2011)
Edge of Dawn