Without really thinking about it, I seem to have been a big fan of Dream Pop since it was invented. And before that, with my copies of early Durutti Column albums which I played to death through lazy sunny mornings in the 1980s and beyond. Why would I ever have fought shy of the genre?
Firstly, because it's got the word 'pop' in it, and for slightly tedious and altogether snobbish reasons, I don't really like thinking of myself as someone who likes 'pop' music. And yet, after all, why not? Am I too good for things that other people like? It doesn't pay to be elitist. (There are good reasons for not liking 'pop music' as an idea, in fact. But they're more to do with commercial manipulation. I'm happy to say that none of the artists featured in this episode can be classified under that banner).
Secondly, because I lived in England most of my life, dream pop, although coined by Alex Ayuli of the thoroughly English and criminally overlooked band A R Kane, is not a term in highly frequent currency in that country. Shoegazing became the rather comic term, although in practice the two have become somewhat interchangeable over the years. And I do feel a little ambivalent about the shoegazing term as it seems too heavily invested in the process and production rather than the consumption and enjoyment. Ahem.
It's helpful to define terms. That's what academics like doing, and I still have some affinity with academia, although too much of a dilettante to make a career out of it. (And too interested in income). Wikipedia to our aid. "The Guide to Electronica defines dream pop as "an atmospheric subgenre of alternative rock that relies on sonic textures as much as melody". Common characteristics are breathy vocals and use of guitar effects, often producing a "wall of noise". Dream pop tends to focus on textures and moods rather than propulsive rock riffs. Lyrics are often introspective or existential in nature. In the view of music critic Simon Reynolds, dream pop "celebrates rapturous and transcendent experiences, often using druggy and mystical imagery". According to Rachel Felder, dream pop artists often resist representations of social reality in favor of ambiguous or hallucinogenic experiences.
This episode's tracks don't always correspond to these definitions, though many do. This then is Sombrero Fallout's version of a Dream Pop world, and you don't need drugs to appreciate it (though the choice is yours). Here's the tracklist.
Iceblink Luck, Cocteau Twins
Strange, Galaxie 500
Walk in the Park, Beach House
Lose my breath, My Bloody Valentine
Snow joke, A R Kane
Tonite it shows, Mercury Rev
Fade into you, Mazzy Star
Sketch for Dawn, The Durutti Column
Staralfur, Sigur Ros
Sunset, The xx