REVIEW: Noir Dream — Within (EP)
Jared and William Wade’s project Noir Dream and their first EP Within deserves your attention for multiple reasons. The track “Perception Deception”, however, gives you all the reason you need to seek the EP out. One assumes that singles from any release, forthcoming or otherwise, are representative of its overall quality. If that assumption holds water, “Perception Deception” shapes up to be one of 2022’s hidden gems.
It is born out of turmoil. The fact we are listening to the song, reviewing it, and so forth, is a victory, however. Noir Dream and, consequently, the song owes their existence to the Wade’s mutual need for a creative outlet. They discovered it in launching this musical journey as well as supporting like-minded artists through their company Mad Hatter Music. It isn’t self-help guidance disguised as entertainment.
“Perception Deception” starts off as a nervy yet muscular marriage of bass, percussion, and vocals. Noir Dream orchestrates the dynamics with a sure hand, however, and the song gathers energy as it progresses. The band widens its canvas during the song’s opening minutes and surprised me with hard-edged guitar. It doesn’t spin off into cliched lead guitar runs though it shapes the song’s dynamics.
They have a veteran’s canny understanding of dynamics. Noir Dream never rushes things, and few listeners will be unsatisfied with how they develop the song’s musical ideas. We’re in the hands of talented musicians and composers who agree that the notes you don’t play are often more important than those you do. Each passage stands on its own yet complements its predecessor while setting the stage for what comes next.
This thread of consistency binds the song together. It’s impressive to hear such young musicians demonstrating this sort of finesse. There’s an ever-present wild card in their music, however, a liveliness you can hear in the bass. You can’t compare it to anyone. It steamrolls everything in its path from the beginning without ever sacrificing its musicality. You can’t resist when it hooks you into the song.
There’s a raw dimension to the song’s sound. It fits with its mood of songwriting staring down thorny subject matter without ever overdramatizing it. Hints of dissonance gnawing along the song’s edges abound without things descending into chaos; songs need an expert songwriting hand for pulling that off and the final result is an overall better track. It’s a song that gets your attention at the first and doesn’t let go.
It’s quite a package for listeners. Even if you don’t live with any kind of mental illness, it is easy to appreciate the blend of vulnerability, physical music, melody, and brains Noir Dream mixes into a potent brew. “Perception Deception” will grab many listeners with their first listen and the quality of the track practically demands you listen to it multiple times in order to fully understand its value. It’s probably one of Within’s best songs, but it’s easy to believe that every bit as good or better awaits anyone ready to hear it in full.