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Vancouver-based artist Christopher Smith takes his laidback five-piece Dralms into rich emotional realms with Shook. Like a less sexy Air or a more sexy Antlers, Dralms are a dreamy, meandering prospect shown in their best light by superbly lush production. Out on CD and vinyl LP from Full Time Hobby.

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Shook by Dralms 1 review. Add your own review. 7/10
6 people love this record. Be the 7th!

7/10 Staff review, 29 September 2015

Clint once described a Dralms song as “like a dream where you die at the end”. Can I bequeath any higher praise? My personal subconscious has protected me from dream death for twenty two years and counting (thanks, bud) so I’ll compare Dralms’ music to a different kind of dream: the one where you try to run, but walk even slower. Amongst synths beeping like bored, tripped alarms and beats playing the closest to no tempo as possible, Christopher Smith has created a monotonous and disengaging record. It makes you feel stuck between four chrome walls.

‘Shook’ harbours the kind of sentimental intensity that the Antlers usually wallow in; in bringing down the pace almost entirely, Smith suggests one of those weekends where you spend all your time in bed, wrapped in enough duvet to ignore both friends and responsibilities. At the same time, though, his record has the overtones of professional pop, echoing the electronic sheen of Jamie Woon and the groovy inclinations of Matthew E. White; at this pace, though, the sheen feels uncomfortable, and the grooves start to suffocate. The polished aesthetic of “Domino House” is darkened by woozy, Krautlike synthlines that ooze in and out of fiery guitar riffs; the song’s dramatic coda, featuring some A+ repetition and a wild backing vocal, ultimately fades back into the record’s stagnant habits.

There are some moments where you can hear Smith show his working: before the warm bass of the record’s title track comes in, there’s sign of sparse synthwork, showing how hard it is for this artist to develop his music’s sleepy architecture. He’s tempered it to sound like this, slowing and modifying tensions until they’ve been all but sanded out, so that all that remains is the sound of getting comfy.




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