Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

"Cecil Dreeme-Honey and Crocodile Tears"

April 1, 2006

cecildreemeBand Name: Cecil Dreeme
Album Name: Honey and Crocodile Tears
Best Element: Sultry vocals.
Genre: Alt-pop/indie-rock
Website: www.cecildreeme.com
Label Name: N/a
Band E-mail: band@cecildreeme.com

Cecil Dreeme is not a person- Cecil Dreeme is a very talented band named after a Theodore Winthrop novel. No, Cecil Dreeme is five extremely talented people- a guitarist, a bassist, a pianist, a drummer, and one very, very sultry female vocalist.

It takes an amazing female voice to make me a convert, but lead singer Cara has me converted. Her voice is perfect for this dark-alley, smoky, jazz-esque music- smooth, lithe, and most of all not breathy. Her notes ring clear and true, alternately dripping with longing (“January”, “Rolling Blackout”) and confident sexuality (“Bored and Pretty”, “Pobrecito”).

But Cara isn’t the only thing that makes Cecil Dreeme’s Honey and Crocodile Tears so deliciously good. The fact that the songwriting behind her is stellar definitely helps out. This band sounds like it lives in a dark and smoky bar- churning out moody, dark, but still soft tunes that sound like the soundtrack to loneliness. All parts of the band work together with a ridiculously tight chemistry- it sounds like these songs were birthed full-formed, not pieced together by a band.

“Speakeasy” is the perfect example: the song starts off with the guitar and piano intertwined- but when the vocals come in they smooth out. The bass and drums enter, and start pushing the song forward- slowly yet surely. The parts fuse together, and when the chorus hits, it’s almost impossible to discern the bass, piano, and guitar from each other- it’s just one beautiful sound. Or maybe one of the three dropped out- I have no clue. Their sound works together so well that it doesn’t matter what instruments are in or out- it all sounds incredible. That’s a real testament to the individual talent and confidence of each member of the band.

Each of these songs are near-perfect in their execution- it’s hard to knock anything in this album. While most of this album is mellower in its delivery, there are some loud moments for variation. The impossibly delicate “Lighter Shaped Like Elvis” ratchets up to a huge, distorted conclusion- giving off a sound so low and fuzzy that it literally made my computer chair vibrate. There are songs where the piano leads (“Dreeme, Awake”) and songs where the guitar leads (“Iron”). Anything you could wish for in an dark, spacious alt-pop album is right here.

Some people don’t like alt-pop, and so they’ll immediately put this in their ‘no way’ bin. That’s probably the right place to put it- because there aren’t very many concessions to the non-alt-pop fan. This is an album for those who already love the genre- and oh, will those people love it. Cecil Dreeme’s Honey and Crocodile Tears is as close to alt-pop perfection as you can get without making drastic renovations to the genre. Highly recommended for fans of strong female voice and pensive, smoky, sultry, passionate music.

-Stephen Carradini
independentclauses@hotmail.com

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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