|Album Review: Tempesst—Must Be a Dream|
Must Be a Dream
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Psych-rock band Tempesst is the combination of musical prowess from all around the globe. The core of the group consists of Australia-born twin brothers Toma and Andy Banjanin, who together provide the vocals, guitar, and drums. Kane Reynolds and Blake Misipeka, also hailing from Australia, add keys and bass into the mix, while Swiss/American Eric Weber plays guitar. Together, they coalesce to form a unique sound, blending simple rock melodies with elements of dreamy psychedelia.
The group has delivered a 10-track debut project through their own Pony Recordings, aptly titled Must Be a Dream. Throughout the record, Tempesst take us on a euphoric journey, exploring themes of identity, growing up, love, and the complexity of relationships. Further, the band blends inspiration from multiple vintage groups that pioneered the psych-rock movement like Pink Floyd, The Flaming Lips, and The Beatles. Despite the retro style, Tempesst manages to incorporate unique elements of pop harmonies, synth-heavy production, and bouncy bass lines, echoing the styles of more modern bands like Tame Impala and the Arctic Monkeys.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect about this record is the grandiose and truly beautiful production. With a wide array of instrumentals, each song invokes a different feeling in the listener, while still fitting the psych-rock style. Moreover, it feels like each instrumental evolves organically as the track progresses, complementing the vocals perfectly. In this sense, you never really know what to expect throughout each song, or what direction the band might take you. A prime example of this occurs on "Mushroom Cloud," where a delicate saxophone solo marks the song's climax. Or towards the end of "Age of the Bored," where the backdrop erupts into hard-hitting drums, distorted electronic noises, and strong guitar chords. "
The opening track "Better Than The Devil" offers a trippy and somewhat alarming intro, sampling Heaven's Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite. The lyrics go on to confront the leaders of our world -- political, religious, and industrial. Do the people really have any power? Are we only being told what we want to hear? Tempesst certainly validate this ideology throughout the track: "God I'm tired of all this clever talk / Hollywood's going up in intellectual smoke / They sell opinions like precious stones / And ride off on the house with our fortune in tow."
Tracks like "With a Woman" and "Is This All That There Is?" touch on the classic adolescent experience. The former vividly describes the transition of boy to man at 17 that comes with losing your virginity. In contrast, the latter focuses on aging, coping with getting older and finding purpose, as the listener is forced to consider their own mortality. "It made me think of ageing / How our bodies are decaying / And now the only thing that's keeping me afloat / Is my heart not failing."
The best song on the album is undoubtedly the closer, "Voices in My Head." With the heavenly background vocals, airy guitar strings, and exquisite horns, this song is intoxicatingly elegant. Couple the instrumental with the catchy, reflective lyrics and you have a masterpiece unlike any psych-rock song.
Overall, "Must Be a Dream" is more than just a basic psychedelic record. It represents the journey of finding oneself, making sense of the world around us, and finding beauty in life's harshest moments. Stream the debut project on Spotify and check out the visuals for "Mushroom Cloud" and "On the Run" above.