It has been a while since I’ve connected to an album as strongly as I did with Tashaki Miyaki’s debut LP, The Dream. As soon as this album was put forward to the Vulture Hound team for review, I just had to take it. Dream pop? Shoegaze? Yes please. That’s my thing. Even one of the editors said he would have put at least £20 down on me taking it. I can only assume that, as a music journalist, being predictable in terms of music taste is a good thing, right?
Not long after claiming The Dream for my own, yet another dream pop album was put up for the taking. Now I didn’t want to be that person who takes everything from the same genre, but this other band was totally up my street, so… more on that later! With two brand new, so far unreleased dream pop albums in my inbox, I was over the moon, and listened to them both constantly for a good week or so. Then came the time to focus on Tashaki Miyaki, and put my thoughts into words. When I finally sat down and just listened to nothing but The Dream intensely, my heart broke.
This album is the most perfect expression of personal feelings I have ever experienced in musical form. Basically, what you can expect from my review is a whole load of feelings. Read it in full here:
Tashaki Miyaki release their debut LP The Dream, an aptly named record with its atmospheric production of dream pop that fluctuates between the delicate and intense; a blissful album for all indie fanatics out there.
The Dream is laden with hazy tones and steady rhythms, but is not without its moments of ecstasy, which are hinted at from the get go with the instrumental ‘LAPD Prelude’. This enigmatic intro slips perfectly into ‘City’, a track of many layers, climaxing to wash of soaring guitars; creating a real sense of lifting off into new heights, a dreamworld if you will, before fading out to a gentle haze, settling the tone once again.
Although Tashaki Miyaki create an LP that, in terms of music, creates a fantasy world, every theme is very much real and down to earth. ‘Girls on TV’ presents a naive need for fame, the belief that everyone will love you when you’re famous. A careless attitude, a portrayal of teen dreams; “and all the boys will want me, and everyone will like me, and all the world will know me, and everyone will like me.”
It’s about the simple need for love and adoration, almost reading as a timeline of feelings and relationships, all of which are extremely easy to relate to. The Dream invites the listener to place themselves as the protagonist of the album, each song pinpoints a moment in a young person’s life, perhaps even pointing towards the future. It is a fully rounded album, talking love and heartbreak, doing everything the songs in the charts are supposed to do and then some.
‘Out Of My Head’ is easygoing on the surface, but full of depth when you stop to really listen. The perfect encapsulation of the thoughts and feelings that overwhelm us, all with a dream-like melody that lifts the listener out of their own head, it is just pure therapy.
Tashaki Miyaki continue to take us through the motions of falling for someone, bringing in sweet melodies during the honeymoon period, and introducing something a little grungier to reflect comparatively darker themes; the honeymoon period is over. It’s not all downhill from here, however, ‘Facts of Life’, while maintaining the heavier tone, is overall more electrifying, very matter of fact in telling us to get on with life – “run, or run out of time” // “we’re all gonna die”. Though we’ve reached darker moments, the album softens up from here, with the sweet twinkle of ‘Keep Me in Mind’; a track about pining to be there for that ‘someone’, not even necessarily wanting their love, but a desire to be the one who looks out for them. It’s a sign that love isn’t selfish, a wholly beautiful track, in sound and meaning.
As the album comes to a close, it rationalises all the thoughts and feelings it has explored, almost like a self help book. From feeling lost in a broken relationship, to letting go when you realise that “something is better than nothing // unless something is nothing too” – a line that is perhaps the most poignant of the album.
The Dream wraps up with another short instrumental that harks back to its intro, suggesting the cyclical nature of life and love. Then in comes the full track as a bonus addition to the album. Both sweet and haunting vocals entwine with mystical melodies and a brooding rhythm, a gentle release from the dreamworld that we were ever so delicately guided into. This track somehow manages to capture the entire album, reliving the moments in summary, leaving us at peace with everything. Picture a forest at dark, soft lights leading the way to a peaceful haven. Tashaki Miyaki’s debut LP is a fine work of art that evokes personal feelings to the highest degree, a truly imaginative album that needs to be heard to be believed.
Seeing as this is an album that really meant a lot to me, I thought I’d include some of the lyrics that stood out the most:
“I want to be out of my head for just one day // I wanna go somewhere else and feel okay” – ‘Out Of My Head’
“Run, or run out of time” – ‘Facts of Life’
“..and I won’t forget you // and I won’t regret you // I just won’t get you – ‘Keep Me In Mind’
“Something is better than nothing // Unless something is nothing too” – ‘Something Is Better Than Nothing’
The Dream is out now!