Noir Dream Release “Within” (EP)

Noir Dream began as a vehicle for catharsis for Jared and William Wade. Our modern understanding of the word is incomplete. It is the beginning of catharsis when, having endured painful physical and psychological trials, individuals process those events through self-expression. It may take many forms including prose, painting, and songwriting, among others. Other steps, however, are possible.

Noir Dream’s EP Within realizes those steps. Putting their collaborations out into the public arena transforms the experience for everyone without losing its initial impetus. The effect of speaking so candidly about living with PTSD from childhood trauma and schizoaffective disorder will vary. It will undoubtedly have an effect, however, that alters the trajectory of their life and potentially the audience as well.

“Perception Deception” proves it is not literal case history. No one, even the most sympathetic listener, wants to hear a grim account of mental illness and its toll. The Wades, however, recast their struggles in sinewy music inflamed like a raw nerve ending. The song’s arrangement bobs and weaves following a herky-jerky trajectory that nevertheless doesn’t prioritize novelty over musicality and muscle.

If one must label it, call it alternative. Art rock, progressive new wave with hard rock inclinations, perhaps. “Perception Deception” traffics in a recognizable style, but the band has no clear antecedents. It sets them apart from your average fare when a young act manifests this much polish coupled with ambitious aims, chops, and intelligence.

William Wade doesn’t have a five-star commercial voice. You likely won’t care though. His emotive talents are beyond question and tailors his phrasing in unexpected ways with the arrangement. Attentive listening reveals such moments. The single is part of a larger collection, as stated, but “Perception Deception” works fine as a standalone performance.

They understand the importance of opening in a compelling way. Opening couplets can set a tone for everything that follows in the hands of the right lyricist and vocalist. Noir Dream understand this and lay down the gauntlet with the first two lines. They spotlight the song’s theme and command your attention. Connected with this is their instinct for song length. “Perception Deception” packs an enormous amount into a relatively brief duration without ever overwhelming listeners. Most importantly, however, they never bore you.

It is a thin line between grandiose and profound. Profundity, as well, doesn’t always announce its presence with figurative bells and whistles or chest-beating. There is nothing heavy-handed about Noir Dream’s “Perception Deception”, it engages listeners on a physical, emotional, and mental level without sounding self-pitying or self-important. Less daring songwriters may have contented themselves with sad songs about this subject. There’s a fierce spirit burning bright in this song.

The band also manages to say something profound by keeping it simple and extending themselves to listeners. “Perception Deception” doesn’t judge, criticize, or rebuke. Noir Dream knows we carry heavy burdens, but they want us to know they do as well. Make something of them. Don’t let your voice and story go unheard out of any fear that others will not understand. Noir Dream’s “Perception Deception” is well aware that sometimes our true enemy is within, and we should be alert to its presence.

Michael Rand

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