Imagine you’re in a dream. It’s nice, not freaky, but you kind of feel that something isn’t normal. You are not scared but you aren’t 100% comfortable either. Vancouver-based band Dralms‘s new album “Shook” is a bit like that.

The voice of Christopher Smith is high and soft like Rhye’s Mike Milosh but the music and overall mood is way more troubling. If Rhye had somehow Sade influences, Dralms tends to dig the Nine Inch Nails or Amon Tobin way (Divisions of Labor) while keeping the music calm. Smoother songs like Wholly Present are closer to Rhye’s mood. Some songs have a more loungy feel and less intriguing elements, like the title-song Shook, which is the closest of what you’ll have as a single on this album.

dralms Nathalie Paolinelli

Smith surrounded by Nathalie Paolinelli’s work

But we’re not looking for singles and hits here. What we have is a great mood throughout the 10 songs of this very coherent opus. The type of album you’ll want to listen to alone in the dark, on evenings. When you’re in the mood for some darker explorations. Then you’ll notice some superb details in the music, like twirling electronic sounds behind the low bass of My Heart is in the Right Place, probably one of the best achievements of “Shook”, with its intense crescendo at the end of the song.

 

Another thing that is brilliantly done on “Shook” is the song pacing. Isn’t it great when you feel there’s a path, a logical and felt way to go from one song to another? The whole album’s listening experience becomes so much more interesting, just like a novel links all chapters in a way that the reader understands the whole story. For such artists as Dralms, that create opuses rather than just assemble a list of separate songs, the pacing is really important.

The band has accumulated great reviews in the music press since “Shook”’s release. “Surprising and obsessive” (Les Inrocks), “Throbbing and hypnotic” (L’Express), “Highly mood-driven” (Exclaim). I couldn’t agree more.

DRALMS
Shook
(Boompa, 2015)

-Genre: dark moody electro
-In the same spirit as Rhye, Mazzy Star, Seoul

Follow the band via their Facebook page
Listen to videos on the band’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré plongeant dans tous les genres et époques, Nicolas Pelletier a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts depuis 1991, dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur en chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie "Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique" en 2013, lance le site RREVERB en 2014, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016. Il dirige maintenant la stratégie numérique d'ICI Musique, la radio musicale de Radio-Canada.