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Nightmare Of You
Nightmare Of You
The Bevonshire Label

In the red corner...

There are some bands that lovingly honor bands that influenced them but come off as a cheap imitation of the original. And there are some bands who swear up and down that the band who they sound most like are absolutely not influences. And then there’s Nightmare Of You.

Made up of ex-members of CIV/Rival Schools and Movielife, they sound less like an American indie-rock/emo band than a pitch-perfect homage to The Smiths. Named after a line from The Cure’s “Kyoto Song” (”A nightmare of you of death in a pool / gets me up at quarter to three”), these four kids keep all their Smiths-ian trademarks in check… Johnny Marrs’ jangly guitars… Odd Morrissey-esque intonations and feminine squeals… Melodramatic polysexual lyrics… and an angst that could encapsulate a full-year’s viewing of My So-Called Life.

Coming off more as an homage to bands from the British wave of the early 90s (i.e. House Of Love, New Order, Charlatans UK, Chameleons, and of course, Moz and crew) than a ripoff, Nightmare of You lifts the best bits and pieces from Brixton, Brighton, Hull, and Manchester and tweaks it a bit... but not too much. Nightmare of You replaces anglo landmarks like Leicester Square and Dorney with scenes and locales of NYC, like Union Square, but the intonation stays the same - From the opening cut of “The Days Go By Oh So Slow”, that would feel at home on Strangeways, Here We Come, to the Meat Is Murder shading of “I Want to Be Buried in Your Backyard”, to the unarguably the best track on the album, “My Name Is Trouble” which sounds like a lost single from The Queen Is Dead.

It's not without its flaws however, but trying to find one is quite a task, like the forced Morrissey/Bernard Sumner yelps that sometimes comes across more comical than appropriate. But all-in-all, this is, by far, one of the most promising albums to traipse across my desk in a long time.

- Rey Roldan

And in the blue corner...

First of all, if I were 15 I would love, love, LOVE this album! I mean, what's not to love!?!? And that Brandon Reilly is so dreamy; he's all skinny and has that black floppy hair and eyeliner, oh wow!!!! He makes me want to scream just like he does in 9 of the 11 songs on this album!!!! Ah, but the sad truth is I'm not 15, so some of the charm is lost on me. Not all of it, mind you, but a lot.

Overall, Nightmare Of You has a reasonably engaging sound with clean guitars, lots of appealing hooks, Brandon's serviceable voice and an obvious reliance on 80's influences. The Cure, Morrissey, and I'd say even The Housemartins and a little New Order are lurking in there, and on the modern end I was reminded of Hot Hot Heat and The Bravery. After the first couple of songs, I thought I had stumbled onto something really interesting, and I was excited to hear more. Then I heard "Thumbelina," and my enthusiasm began to wane. The song already has bizarre lyrics, but is made worse by throwing in a gratuitous sexual reference that was jarring and kind of gross. Taken together with "Ode To Serotonin" and "In The Bathroom Is Where I Want You," a picture of a pretty juvenile group of guys begins to emerge. Although I did get a laugh from the line "Just to see your body/in a place so tacky," and "I Want To Be Buried In Your Backyard" is also amusing as an over-the-top ode to love that should appeal to the emo boys and girls out there for its adolescent pining worthy of Goethe's "The Sorrows of Young Werther." And then there were the yelps. I got used to it after awhile, but Brandon's high-pitched, fey shrieks in almost every song are a thoroughly unnecessary addition to the band's sound.

Bottom line: Nightmare Of You is decent; not awe-inspiring by any stretch of the imagination, but has its moments. I can't recommend you go out and spend your hard earned money on it, but if it's your parents' money, then go for it. It should appeal to teenagers who can congratulate themselves for recognizing the humor in the lyrics, but who within a year will wonder why they liked it. Unlike the classic 80's music it references, this isn't music that will stand the test of time.

- Heidi Lamer

Track Listing:
1. The Days Go By Oh So Slow
2. Dear Scene, I Wish I Were Deaf
3. Thumbelina
4. My Name Is Trouble
5. Why Am I Always Right?
6. I Want To Be Buried In Your Backyard
7. Ode To Serotonin
8. Marry Me
9. In The Bathroom Is Where I Want You
10. The Studded Cinctures
11. Heaven Runs On Oil

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