If I could visit one pop culture era in the past, it would have to be the 60s. The 70s and 80s were tight, but I don’t like bell bottoms and I can’t stand the snare sound of 92 percent of 80s music. Yes, that’s how I generalize those two decades. The imagery of the 60s era is so enthralling to me, from Woodstock-style concert posters and ice cream parlor pop art logos, to color television being introduced and drive-in movies. The time period is reminiscent of an endless summer. When I tried to describe The Dreemers’ debut EP “Is Is” to folks that don’t know them, I just kept saying “it’s a lot of fun.” When I heard their new album “Beach Mode,” I learned that The Dreemers excel in painting a portrait of the era I’m enamored by.
Let’s be clear that this isn’t the first band to melt Garage, Surf, Psych, and Pop Rock in a pot and channel their Rock-n-Roll predecessors. The Dreemers succeed in making you feel young (half the US population was under 18 in 1960) and cool.
“Beach Mode” is a four-day weekend when your parents are on their last summer vacation, you have the house to yourself and the keys to one of the cars. “Better Than That” is a psychedelic run-in with a disgruntled older neighbor that normally your dad would’ve handled. Time flies when you’re having fun and the album coasts through teenage emotions like seeing your lover with her new guy (“Get Back Girl”), not knowing your alcohol or drug tolerance (“Hand in the Mirror) and stepping away from the pack when your buddy wants to do something stupid (“No Friends”).
“Beach Mode” is all fun and games except for the melodramatic “It’s Alright Love Love,” but what would summer be without a minor crisis? Musically, lead vocalist and guitarist Ben Francis isn’t trying to oversell it with grand Hendrix-esque guitar solos, and drummer/vocalist Natalie Grieshammer isn’t trying to mimic drum fills from Ringo Starr. Clocking in at 33 minutes, the album is whimsical in its songwriting and vintage (analog) in production. You’re visiting a familiar feeling, and with The Dreemers as a whole, you’re buying into an aesthetic.
“Beach Mode” is the first official release on new label ARC (Akron Recording Company). The label is a collaboration between The Dreemers and members of See Creatures. Nate Bucher of See Creatures is also the executive producer for other Dreemers projects. While it’s a no-brainer that ARC wants to focus on quality recording and the upkeep of their studio on 15 Broad Street in Goodyear Heights, the label also wants to help curate the “New Akron Sound” by promoting and distributing Akron area artists through playlists, physical copies of projects and live shows for ARC acts and collaborators.
“Beach Mode” is a durable offering in what can be provided for Akron area artists, and time will tell if the formula can be duplicated.
The Dreemers’ album “Beach Mode” comes out October 6. Purchase a CD copy at Square Records, Time Traveler and Hollow Bone in Akron. You can also stream the album on all your favorite digital retailers. Vinyl will be available closer to the new year thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign this year. For more info on ARC, visit akronrecordingcompany.com.
They’ll also play a record release show at Musica the same day at 8 pm with See Creatures and DJ Andrew Novak. $10 entry includes a CD copy of “Beach Mode.”
[Featured image of The Dreemers with fresh flowers picked from their neighbors lawn (Photo by Nate Bucher)]