Title: Dreams Come True
Record Label: Terrible Records
As a multi-instrumentalist and producer in Grizzly Bear, Chris Taylor plays quite a part in shaping the sound of the influential and much-lauded Brooklyn band. It comes as something of a shock that his first foray into solo territory as CANT leaves behind many of the Grizzly Bear trademarks – the crashing guitar-and-drum crescendos and the gorgeous, intricately-arranged harmonies – in favor of buzzy synth bass, swirling ambience, and pulsing electro beats.
Taylor is at his best when he has an uptempo groove and a good melody line or two to work with; while slower numbers such as “BANG” seem to meander a bit longer than necessary, the standout title track oozes an ominous Nine Inch Nails-inspired appeal, and the blippy beats, synth work and vocal effects in “Answer” are reminiscent of Damon Albarn/Gorillaz at their toe-tappingest. Later, Rises Silent twists and shakes before shutting down to stark piano and Taylor’s frail murmur: “You go anywhere you want to/I know you’ve left the man who found you.”
Other reference points for the album include Thom Yorke (Dreams Come True is kind of like an updated version of his 2006 solo effort The Eraser, but with a darker, more chaotic feel), and, yes, Grizzly Bear (fragile vocals on top of haunting guitar pluckings), but there isn’t much outright borrowing going on here. Taylor’s production skills and his ability to balance sweet and dusky with sharp and discordant makes Dreams Come True a dense but captivating listen.