Close your eyes while listening to Dream Affair, and you just might find yourself prancing gleefully around the hazy underground dance floors of England circa 1983. That’s the experience of Dream Affair’s From Now On EP, an impeccably crafted release that marks a significant shift in sound for the Brooklyn coldwave trio. From Now On also marks Dream Affair’s move to Artificial Records, a new label based in Toronto that focuses exclusively on those dank, dark underbelly sort of sounds– you know, the good stuff.
Luckily, Dream Affair are all about making good stuff, which is especially impressive considering the band’s recent turn from guitar-based post punk towards more obscure, edgier electronics. From Now On features six tracks– some rather old, some brand spanking new– that dance devilishly between new-goth dance beats, buzzing backgrounds and droning synths. Overall, there is a clear chilliness to the ghostly sounding EP, yet its sounds still simmer with a delicate undercurrent of heat.
Dream Affair have toured with the likes of Iceage, and it’s easy to see why the two acts would go well hand-in-hand. Fans of the Danish punks will undoubtedly welcome Dream Affair, and their equally ominous tone, into their repertoire of shadowy, industrial favorites. But while Iceage run on the near-unstoppable power of pure aggression, Dream Affair employ a far more subtle approach. “All I Want” and “The Porter” are perfectly primed for dancing, with their driving hand claps, steady drum machine, and heavy, hungry bass. Particularly irresistible is title track “From Now On,” which features grey swirls of noise that duck in-and-out from skeletal hiding places. Really, though, good luck finding a single song on From Now On that doesn’t leave you grooving with a playfully ghoulish grin.
Creating a collection of tracks that is both dark and danceable — without the inevitably lazy Joy Division comparisons– is a lot harder than one might think. Dream Affair have managed to strike a beautiful balance on From Now On, making an old sound thoroughly new again, and all their own.
4 / 5 bars