Bands change their sounds and direction all the time.Sometimes we embrace the change, knowing that it's for the good of the band, and they'll put out even better records, and sometimes bands take such a U-turn for the worst, that we're not even so sure it's the same band we once liked. You can never anticipate how you'll feel about a change in direction until you actually hear it, but unfortunately for Jerome's Dream, their new path in music is one I'm not really looking to go down.
The first thing you'll more than likely notice about this album are the vocals. A little back story on that... If this is the first thing you've heard from Jerome's Dream, it's important that you know this is nothing like how the band used to sound. They started out as a screamo band, putting out split 7"s with bands such as Orchid, Usurp Synapse, and The Book Of Dead names, even releasing a 10" of their own, Seeing Means More Than Safety, in May of 2000. This is a band that accented Orchid and Usurp Synapse well, playing the same discordant screamo with short, nonsensical-titled songs and those trademark shrieking vocals. The vocals on Presents, however, sound like they've been recorded after being shouted through a megaphone. I don't 100% for sure know why the change took place, but as the story goes, the singer used to do shows without a mic, and thus damaged his voice so badly, he could no longer scream the same way.
After listening to this album five or six times, and trying very dilligently, I still can't get past the vocals. It just overrides any technical merit the band has, and makes me want to turn it off, which is a shame, because if you do truly listen to this album, it's pretty apparent that Jerome's Dream are a talented group of musicians. The guitar and drums are fast and are played in odd time signatures, and have lightning fast tempo changes, just as you would expect from most screamo bands, though this can in no way be construed as screamo with the vocals it has. Save the album's closer, the 16-minute long instrumental "35," (though half of it is just quiet, with no instrumentation at all) only one song breaks the two-minute barrier here, with most not cracking a minute and a half. The length of "35" is completely unecessary, and fails to hold your attention for even half its duration. The song "What Other Adjective Would You Have Me Use?" best exemplifies that these are three talented musicians, despite the vocals and their obvious affection for feedback and reverb.
If you're looking for salvation from the lyrics, I hate to disappoint you, but there's nothing in the way of that either. In the aforementioned "What Other Adjective...," the lyrics are completely random. Given, I doubt lyrics are of any sort of focus or importance for these guys, but I'd have a difficult time letting anybody get away with "Hi, I'm Bill the confusion specialist! / Gimme fourteen minutes and you won't have any idea what hit you / And don't worry, you can bet you'll get your money's worth!"
This was Jerome's Dreams last ever release, and after really enjoying most of the 7"s they did, I hate to see them go out like this. The music is the saving grace here, as I really do enjoy that aspect of this album, but the vocals just seem to suck all the enjoyment out of what otherwise could have been solid. I think I'd even score this higher if it was purely instrumental. If you're looking for the screamo that you've come to know from Jerome's Dream, I reccomend their split with Usurp Synapse, because this sure is a long way off.