It’s embarrassing when a band this great comes out of nowhere, except that “nowhere” is the state you spent the last eight years living in. My bad, I suppose. The band is dream pop duo The Receiver, and the album is their Kscope debut, All Burn. While dream pop isn’t exactly everyone’s favorite cup o’ tea, when you see the premiere progressive label Kscope’s name attached to it, you know there’s more going on here than just aimless, hazy pop. Well, you’d be right. The Receiver’s sound is equal parts Radiohead and The Pineapple Thief as it is Slowdive. In fact, behind even the dreamiest of poppy numbers here, The Receiver’s music always carries a certain momentum, allowing the dreamy moments to feel more purposeful. It’s not an aimless, boring slumber trance; The Receiver’s music is hard at work to give everything meaning.
The album starts off wonderfully with the celestial two-punch of “Drift” and “Transit”, showcasing a band who understands behind all the dream pop, ambient, and prog moments that melody is just as important. Casey Cooper’s high-pitched voice is especially dreamy, acting like an interested tour guide through the album’s dream-like tracks. By embracing the dream-like qualities of their sound, The Receiver’s music is made that much more impactful. The slower tracks are disorientating in the right way, while faster tracks like “The Summit” and “Let It Dry” are wonderfully melodic, offering up an alternative universe where Radiohead actually knew how to write a hook.
Ultimately, it’s this focus on creating melodic, interesting songs that helps elevate All Burn. While the mood is basically constant throughout, Casey’s lush vocals and differing tempos allow for a great listen. Like the best music associated with a progressive tag, The Receiver’s music holds up especially well through multiple listens, as the sonic depth of songs isn’t revealed right away. However, it’s rare that prog is this melodic and good, so in that way, All Burn is reminiscent of The Pineapple Thief’s latest opus. By keeping their dream pop focused and progressive, The Receiver’s Kscope debut is a real winner. (Nicholas Senior)