The latest record to hit Reviewcaster’s new music sonar comes from the lesser latitudes of our sunny south coast. All My Friends Are Dreamers is the new EP from Deadstar, the alias of a bedroom project by Nihal Anand, and it comes equipped with an experimental introspection of contemporary progressive rock. Clearly influenced by the likes of Porcupine Tree and And So I Watched You From Afar, Anand immerses regions far beyond Bournemouth in thrilling soundscapes, keeping clamorous rhythm sections on tantalising leashes and captivating provoked, spiralling guitars in an extraterrestrial world.
The EP itself is an exhibition of Anand’s ability to control a highly advanced range of instrumentals, and tame a bustling, unworldly metropolis of sound. Surprisingly, a record with as much mystique as this starts far from cryptically, with opener Beginnings. It is what it is. Chilling, distressed dialogues govern an unnerving prequel to the body of All My Friends Are Dreamers before Flying Whales plunges the record into a fathomless profundity at an alarming speed, setting a premise for the progressive elements to explore the deepest depths of Deadstar’s intuition.
More influences start to work their way into nucleus of the record, most notably in Look, The Stars Are Out; a mesmerising arrangement that channels Thom Yorke’s sauntering musings directly through a conduit of contemporary, progressive math rock. S.C.I.E.N.C.E. era Incubus samples aren’t too far from the mark here, either. You’re reminded curiously of DJ Lyfe’s favourite playgrounds with some Magic Medicine-esque vocal samples – the closest thing you’ll hear to vocals on this record.
Like many prog records, it seems like you’re doing it a disservice by discerning it into tracks. Nevertheless, when Look, The Stars Are Out gives way to That Song That’s Never On The Radio, tethered rhythms undertake their most strenuous attempt to relinquish themselves from Anand’s control, whilst maintaining the innocence of the brightest guitar scrawls on the record. Alone In Wonderland/Lost Bands showcases the electronic influences that are most prominent here, further demonstrating Anand’s shrewd capacity to experiment with a wide variety of influences and progressions. Cat Dreams brings the proverbial curtain down on the EP, providing a retrospective closure to a pristine stream of consciousness.
Very much like the Progfather himself, Steven Wilson, Deadstar provides a kaleidoscope of discrepant perturbations to reward those who pay the admission fee into this un-fairground, where visitors mount misunderstood animals, as opposed to gleeful plastic horses, to ride an abstract carousel to the deepest nooks of its maker’s expression. Urgent, disparate bass kicks keep an air of unpredictability, and combine with the rest of a meticulously disorganised rhythm section to provide intense thrills of foreboding. All My Friends are Dreamers is the direct outlet of a cunning musical brain, and one that is all too rare.