Review by: Mr. Substitute
Funny how the brain rewards itself when it recollects something that used to bring you joy; that “Oh yeah…! I remember that!” you quietly say to yourself when your memory is joggled just right. Today I remembered my favorite book growing up: The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan. It happened during my third listen to Soft Scream’s (debut) album, “DIET DAYDREAM.”
The premise of The Daydreamer is simple enough: just the tales of a boy’s imagination coming to fruition, only to have it conclude with the “It was all a dream” ending. “DIET DAYDREAM” offers the same type of experience that–after listening to the album multiple times–can be seen as individual “dreams” or as one collective, continuous ebb and flow of energetic somnolence and flirtatious berceuse. I prefer enjoying the album with the latter mindset.
In a previous interview with Mustard, Soft Screams said they were aiming to create a new genre called ‘Hyper Power Pop’ but they “completely failed at that goal” and ended up with a “smorgasbord album with a variety of different sounds and experiments.” “Diet Daydream” certainly covers a lot of different sounds, ranging from a sort of mechanical, Talking Heads-esque song in “life’s different now” to a hyper pop ballad in “godhead.” In fact, I would have to respectfully disagree with Soft Screams and say that “godhead” is very much hyper power pop.
Throughout the album, repetition is used quite frequently in both melody and drum pattern, something that I greatly attribute (and highly respect) to this entire album being one long daydream throughout the narrator’s day. During “TRAIN OF THOUGHT” Silent Screams calls to the listener: “All aboard the Daydream Express/ Destination: No hope left.” It is here that the album seems to flip on the afterburners and the “power” in hyper power pop really shines through, reaching its pinnacle with “the kingdom of punishers.” Much to my delight, “DIET DAYDREAM” does one of my favorite things albums do with their encore track and that is highlighting the entire album briefly in one song, and “return to eggs” provides an absolutely delicious omelet of a song.
“DIET DAYDREAM” is thoughtful, meticulously scrappy, and an experience in itself–a real four-course-meal of an album. Whether you want to listen to it casually or hop aboard the Daydream Express and daydream along with Soft Screams, you’re going to enjoy yourself. Check out “Diet Daydream” now on Spotify and Apple Music, and follow Soft Screams on Twitter and Instagram.