Album Review | The Strange Blue Dreams | Simple Machine

Perhaps the most unique band to come out of Glasgow in the past few years, The Strange Blue Dreams are back with their second album ‘Simple Machine’.

It’s been a whopping five years since their self-titled debut album but in their absence the five-piece band have certainly not lost their touch.

Who are The Strange Blue Dreams?

Describing themselves as a band “united by a love of high-fidelity 20th Century pop music that ranges from High School Doo-Wop to Dixieland and Tin Pan Alley”, the band have a wonderfully weird sound.

Debuting in 2016 with the single ‘Reverberatin’ Love’, The Strange Blue Dreams instantly lived up to their name with their strange sound.

It sounds like 50’s noir movies, modern James Bond and street music all at once. So, its safe to say they stuck on the mind and a band like no other.

Their mesh of genres underappreciated in the modern music landscape harks back to an era where experimentalism was the norm.

The album

‘Simple Machine’ is an amazing example of this. Each song is distinct and leans more into one retro style than the other, yet the album still feels cohesive.

From the rock n roll style beats on ‘A Good Day’, leading straight into a singer song-writer style guitar melody on ‘A Space Is Hard To Find’ and then the delightfully jazzy ‘Wine and Circuses’, the band manages to expertly show off a range of musical ability while still keeping a central identity on the project as a whole.

Some of the standout tracks are a real treat.

The title track which opens the album is an excellent identifier for this project. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact genre, doo-wop elements blend with rock n roll so effortlessly. The instrumentation is an illusion of simplicity while actually being incredibly layered. A simple drumbeat is accompanied by a wonderful blending of double bass and mandolin which create a folk song feel.

‘A Good Day’ is wonderfully upbeat and energetic and is perhaps the most “modern” sounding rock n roll track featured. It features some funky retro vision guitar and rhythmic drums, accompanied by one of singer David Addison’s best vocal performances on the album.

However, the title for best performance has to go to his work on ‘Gold In The Mountain’ in which he displays a very impressive range and a slight country twang. The track seems to take inspiration from country music with the rock n roll twist that is present throughout the album. It is a fun novelty to listen to.

The Strange Blue Dreams really bring rock n roll back in style with their own unique twists. It almost feels like they are reinventing the genre or making it their own entirely.

It’s hard to believe that they weren’t around in the 50’s when this type of music started to go mainstream. They wouldn’t look out of place next to Elvis at all.

If retro is your thing, you should definitely check out ‘Simple Machine’.