Green Dreams – Here At Castle Makeout (Album Review)
by Steven Spoerl
At the end of last week, a solid haul of full streams emerged and included impressive new titles from Brat Kings, Tape Waves, Birdboy, Daisy Victoria, Cleo Tucker, Sharks’ Teeth, and Nathan Bowles. The record to grab this post’s featured spot came from site favorites Green Dreams, who are riding a creative rebirth and utilizing the impressive behind-the-boards talents of some of their friends from Perfect Pussy.
Following a steady build that was comprised of a demo, an EP, and a 7″ (all very strong), Green Dreams have finally settled into a lineup and sunk their teeth into a full-length, Here At Castle Makeout. Opening with “Be Here Now”, it’s clear from the outset, the band hasn’t lost a step. Shaun Sutkus, Ben Moley, and Meredith Graves all keyed into the band’s most ferocious qualities and amplify them in various production capacities, sculpting the sound quality into a near-feral, lo-fi attack that perfectly amplifies Green Dreams’ untethered aggression.
Of course, their combined efforts would only carry the music so far if the songs were limp and, unsurprisingly, Green Dreams seem continuously incapable of writing anything that’s less than potent. Half-efforts just simply aren’t in the trio’s constitution. After “Be Here Now” sets the tone for Here At Castle Makeout with a melodic strain of damaged noise-punk that closes out with a section of ambient noise that’s overlaid with Jane Fonda’s famous screed against prejudiced bigotry in Colin Higgins’ classic Nine to Five. It’s a moment that touches on the band’s well-placed sense of frustration and anger, providing the rest of the record with a tenacious sense of purpose in its earliest stages.
From that point forward, the record never ceases in delivering punishing blows that are teeming with feeling. “100 Days” stands out as an early highlight, perfectly balancing the band’s bruising wall-of-noise with guitarist/vocalist (and principle songwriter) Jesse Amesmith’s frantic vocals, which swing from tempered to unhinged on a dime. In a record full of exhilarating moments, “100 Days” may be the most definitive example of what the band can accomplish when they strip themselves of any reservations and go on the offensive.
Of course, “100 Days” isn’t the only immediately effective moment on Here At Castle Makeout and the record continues doling out moments of fury as it progresses, slowly transforming itself into not only a bone-rattling noise-punk record but a blistering political statement. “Body Magic”, another track that implements outside dialogue, not only contains a message of self-worth that touches on several key aspects in a short amount of time (among them: body-positivity, disallowing the tendency to be defined by others, and the callousness of sexual assault). There’s an abundance of feeling in these songs that’s impossible to ignore and makes several of the narratives that litter Here At Castle Makeout cut incredibly deep.
Several of those themes that “Body Magic” hits so succinctly are prevalent throughout Here At Castle Makeout, whether they’re refined into one specific topic or continue to combine them into pointed, wide-range commentary. All of them — and a few more related topics — are driven home in the record’s astonishing final quarter, which slows the tempo but ups the immediacy, creating a breathtaking run of songs that refuse to be ignored. By the time the woozy acoustic epilogue rolls in, it’s easy to taste the smoldering wreckage left in its wake.
Here At Castle Makeout is a furious record that knows it’s overwhelming amount of anger comes from the right place. It’s an unwieldy piece of noise-punk that’s informed by both pop and hardcore, which is elevated by the sheer strength of Green Dreams’ convictions. Easily their most impressive work to date, Here At Castle Makeout is the type of record that seems destined to gain strength as more people give in to its force. One of 2016’s finest — and timeliest — records, Here At Castle Makeout deserves every bit of praise that’ll undoubtedly come its way.
Listen to Here At Castle Makeout below and pick it up here.