Album review – A Strange Dream by Smokescreens (2020) (Slumberland Records) …review by Evan Seurkamp

LASmokeBand

A Strange Dream is the third LP by indie pop group Smokescreens from L.A. and is quite possibly one of the best jangle pop masterpieces I have heard this whole year.  
Sporting that classic and nostalgic jangly guitar sound we all know and love, the songs on this album are very reminiscent of indie pop from the 90s and late 80s.  I also found an underlying sound in Smokescreens’ new album that made me think of The Bats from New Zealand.  Upon a bit of research I even found that indie pop veteran David Kilgour (lead singer for The Clean) helped produce A Strange Dream, so this album certainly has the amazing Dunedin sound flowing through its veins.
From the very first songs on this LP, the perfectly melodic and catchy aspects of the Smokescreens sound ensures that any listener will become instantly ensnared.  No doubt they will stick around to hear the rest of the album play out.  
With it’s chiming and thoughtful guitar, Working Title (a clear highlight of the album) expertly captures a The Byrds-esque sound.  It’s as if this song were fished straight out of the 60s and run through a modern filter to sweeten it for the jangle pop audience of our generation.
Nothing screams ‘pop ear-worm’ like a song with a chorus you can sing along to even when you’ve only heard it once.  That being said, the fifth track on the record, On and On, is like biting into a seemingly normal caramel coated apple only to find it is full of ear-worms, and of course in the world of indie music that is perfectly acceptable.  
Smokescreens also know how to relax their listeners with dreamy acoustic driven songs like Nighttime Skies and some tunes, like I Want To Know, add a subtle splash of color with the addition of instruments such as a bright organ-like synth.
Overall, these songs are so full of life and character, especially if you want your life to be accompanied by effortlessly melodic and timeless tracks as those found on this release.  Definitely go and show this band some appreciation and love.  I can’t wait to hear what great music they have to share with the world in the future!
Reviewed by Evan Seurkamp
 

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