Under Review

Under Review: Spaces, RINSE DREAM

Todd McCluskie

Art-punkers RINSE DREAM’s first full length album — Spaces — released late 2022, and opens with some fluid feedback, a distorted bass throb, and the pitter patter drumming of quirky track “Lawnmower Boy.” A rather decent kick-off to the Vancouver band’s overly ambitious 13 song effort. “Lawnmower Boy cuts my hair / makes it nice and even square.” Clearly unchartered territory for me, this is my first cursory listen to this group “from the deep south of the Great White North.” 

RINSE DREAM’s Bandcamp bio describes them as “The type of organized chaos & creative energy that restores your belief in the ability of punk rock to shake a community.” A heady claim that will easily take an LP’s worth of material to confirm. So then, let’s get to it!

Track number two, the hooky “Feather Dust,” is more punky, less artsy, and has a late 70’s vibe that sits just right. Messy in all the right corners, and featuring a filthy guitar that is the star of this 3:15 show. Creeping along we have “Teflon Heart,” overmodulated six string heaven, maybe my fave. Straight ahead, dirty and to the point. Listening via Bandcamp, having some lyrics would have been a bonus. Nevertheless, “Sad Blur” slides us a third of the way through the record. This may be a stretch, but it almost reminds me of an early Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) diddy. A complete, simplistic, basic, sloppy guitar romp.

I like the pace and sequencing of this album so far, we appear to be balls to the wall since the opening note.

“Exorcism,” a throwaway track that’s a little laboured at this point and slightly forced that glides into the speedy “Heavy Thinking.” “Totality” and “Bore Children” maintain the standard, but offer nothing new. “Special Melting NIce,” on the other hand, IS caked in sugary (borderline incoherent) spoken word splashed with heavy effects — a welcomed detour of sorts.

Now we hit the final four of the 13. “Ssufferr” is interesting, with its industrial sounding interlude and solid panning. “Joan of Arc Poster” is probably one of the stronger additions, with it’s almost Yardbird sounding guitar riff that would make Jimmy Page proud. We conclude “Flimflam’s Daydream” with a pretty kick-ass guitar rampage. Our closer, the galloping “Mutant Pony,” contains some more intriguing spoken-word midway that is not unpleasant.

And so, there we have it. I like the fact that RINSE DREAM attempts to indulge us in a full 13 track LP. Album rock is on the upswing, just wait… the issue is, it’s not easy to sustain interest without a wider scope. I think Spaces would be stronger as a 4-5 song EP — the whole less is more theory. I like the exploratory nature of some of the songs, although the effects are relied on a tad too much, and I think it would have been worthwhile to lengthen the better tracks, but just have less of them. In the end, I think this may be “punk rock that (could) shake a community” but shorter intervals would strengthen the tremor