Dreamcar - Dreamcar (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Dreamcar (2017)


If you've listened to Davey Havok's work on Blaqk Audio, and more so, what he put out on the last AFI record, then a lot of what Dreamcar's self-titled debut has to offer won't come as any surprise. Davey loves to move out comfort zones and here, he finds himself making a new wave tribute to 80's bands like The Cure, New Order and The Smiths with the members of No Doubt (minus Gwen Stefani). As enterprising as it gets, and off the bat it really is a charmer, it does end up a bit boring toward the end. A lot of it feels like The Blood Album AFI put out but with a different musical backdrop aka replacing the alt/post-hardcore style. That said, it's a commendable debut that knows what it's doing and that's stirring conversation, provoking chatter and appealing to radio. You can tell though that it doesn't have or intend to have staying power.

Davey's vocal style, overall delivery and lyrics really feel like the mainstream era of AFI. Like I said, the No Doubt crew just replace the hard-rock edge of AFI. Instead, it's all about catchy head-bobbers and lush-melodic foot tappers as Davey runs amok with big choruses that highlight how well he's kept his voice (and I can testify to this after seeing AFI in LA last month). The opening few tracks -- "After I Confessed", "Kill For Candy" and "Born to Lie" are those new wave homage tracks that stand out -- all about addictive hooks, thick basslines (big up Tony Kanal!) and percussion that takes you back to a time when A Flock of Seagulls had the best hairstyle ever.

However, apart from running repetitive with no real memorable tracks in the back-end, it's the cheese factor that ends up hampering the show. "All of the Dead Girls" boasts cringeworthy lyrics and feels like such a produced piece. I often associate AFI and No Doubt with art but this track brings back those times I hated on them because they moved products instead of creative work. One or two songs try to buck this trend as things wind down but it doesn't feel like a gear has been shifted until "Show Me Mercy" closes. By then, it's apparent this would have been better as a 7-track EP instead of dragging in the lates. However, the early songs are truly worth a go. Dreamcar is a risk but one everyone involved can afford at present. It doesn't feel like it has longevity as I said but hey, we all love a vanity project every now and then.