Dream Sitch is a new collaborative project featuring Michael Nau (Cotton Jones, Page France) and Seth Kauffman (Floating Action). Given the circumstances of the pandemic and having to work remotely, it is exactly what these guys did in a matter of 10 days when it came to creating this album. When you listen to it, you will find it hard to believe that this album was crafted in that style.
Side 1 of the album starts with “Now On,” which features solid bass lines, a memorable chorus that is lifted by tasteful harmonies held together by the glue of string-based mellotron that is played in the background. The lo-fi-sounding drums and piano signal the next track, “Soft Stars, Hard Thunder,” which features layered saxophones that add this jazzy lush quality to the track. The following track, “Loop in the Tangle,” utilizes 80s sounding waves of synthesizers, the lead synth providing a great countermelody to the vocal melody. The chant-like vocal of “Peace Be” features high-pitched unison vocals and the middle break features a tasteful clavinet solo. I found “Odds” to be a very hypnotic song, down to the repeated lyrical motif and the syncopated percussion that locks you into the piece.
Flipping the record over onto side 2 starts with “The Mouth the Foot Keeps Stepping In,” which features some very dissonant sounding organs but features a very airy, dreamy vocal. The sitar that lingers through the track “Random Drips,” along with the McCartney-esque bass licks, gives this song a bit of a “Tomorrow Never Knows” vibe to it which is always welcomed. The hooky guitar motif that starts the song “Too Way Out” lifts the song’s spirit in such a positive way. We get into some Pink Floydian territory with “Soon Another,” which features spacey synthesizers and background oohs that could’ve been found on albums like “The Dark Side of the Moon.” The album is rounded off with the tropical sounding “Oblivion Major,” which features complimentary bongos and vibraphones.
And all of this was done by just two people! To my ears, this is on level with what The Wrecking Crew was doing with Phil Spector and Brian Wilson/Beach Boys records. While the songs are brilliantly crafted in terms of lyrical content, chord progressions, and melodies, the extra percussion, guitars, and synthesizers add more depth. I wonder if these guys are Steely Dan fans because there is enough going on arrangement-wise in these songs that keep the listener interested.
The vinyl pressing itself of this album sounds absolutely solid. There is a strong presence in the bottom end with the bass that filled my listening room quite nicely. There is a great use of the stereo spectrum, which isn’t shocking since there is so much going on instrumentally with these songs. Another interesting facet was the way the vocals were more panned to the left and any saxophones or synthesizers that complemented the vocals in some way were panned to the right.
The packaging of the album itself is very eye-catching, featuring a photo of the gentlemen responsible for making this album edited in a pop art style. This album comes pressed on random color vinyl, which adds a bit of excitement for the buyer as to which color they’ll get. My copy came on a solid red vinyl with a bit of green. Don’t place any bets on what color copy you may be getting!
I sure hope that this is not the last that the public sees of Dream Sitch. This album provides some strongly written songs with tight arrangements that take the listener on this synth-driven trip; a definite escape needed from these crazy times.
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