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Dream Seeds is the third full-length album from Brooklyn-based Art Rock provocateurs Extra Life, and the band’s first record for Northern Spy. With a pedigree including Zs, Dirty Projectors and Dax Riggs, Extra Life have been dividing audiences since 2007 with their dark, unclassifiable fusion of Experimental, Pop, Industrial, Prog, Classical and even Medieval aesthetics. On several different levels, it marks a distinctly new direction in the band’s still-young yet prolific career.
This is Extra Life’s most clearly-defined concept album : seven songs on the twin themes of dreams and children. According to songwriter and elementary school teacher Charlie Looker, the lyrics began with a series of harrowing yet transformative nightmares, all involving little kids. These songs look to the subconscious and to the young, in search of innocence, morality and even prophecy.
Extra Life’s unique marriage of technical complexity and uncomfortable emotional catharsis is on full display throughout Dream Seeds. Fragile acoustic ballads find Looker’s falsetto quivering over plain acoustic guitar and sparse piano chords with subtle synth and string arrangements by guitarist/violinist Caley Monahon-Ward. Other tracks explode with grinding synth-bass, queasy guitar drones, feverish bellowing and Nick Podgurski’s labyrinthine drum assaults, like early Dead Can Dance covering Bartok. The LP’s entire second side is comprised of two mammoth compositions, where contemplative chant-like vocal melodies build to punishing Metal-doomed climaxes and shatter into hellish noise collage.
As with every Extra Life record, the journey traversed on Dream Seeds is meant to be difficult. Despite its
borderline-Pop hooks and lyrical intimacy, Extra Life’s unapologetically ambitious, noise-torn melodic art makes
zero concessions to the Indie-latte set, and remains firmly rooted in the experimental nether-regions of its origins.
For fans of : Scott Walker, Xiu Xiu, Kayo Dot, Zs, Mike Patton, Current 93