Listening to the music of Keen Dreams can sound a bit like time travel. The band – consisting of James Weber, Jr. on vocals and guitar, Shana Applewhite on bass, and Eric Martinez on drums, also featuring a bevy of guest musicians – creates a type of hazy dream-pop that’s reminiscent of Talk Talk or the Jesus and Mary Chain, or even contemporary practitioners like Destroyer. In advance of their debut album, The Second Body (coming out on Whatever’s Clever and Strange Daisy Records on 14 May and produced by Shannon Fields of Leverage Models), the latest single, “Immediate Tonight”, is out today, along with an accompanying music video.
Joining the core band on this single is vocalist Alena Spanger (of Tiny Hazard, Field Guides, and Leverage Models), who duets with Weber, and saxophonist Jon Natchez (The War on Drugs). The song addresses, in part, the difficulty of staying present in your body and being aware and grateful for small, fleeting moments of peace and beauty. Surely the soul-crushing events of the past year have been anxiety-provoking for many of us, and this song is the perfect balm for difficult times.
The majestic mid-tempo feel of the song, with its lush touches and dreamy vibe, brings to mind classic 1980s new wave pop that keeps many of the era’s more blatant indulgences in check. Fields’ exquisite production work has clearly brought out something magical in this band. Natchez’s saxophone offers up the perfect counterpoint to Weber and Spanger’s graceful vocal pairing. “Let’s get immediate tonight,” they sing, and it’s less a romantic idea than a desperate plea for peace and harmony in times of trouble. The video’s concept seems strange upon initial viewing – clips from the 1972 disaster film The Poseidon Adventure in slow motion – but in the end, it works, as the clips clearly show a group of people battling for survival against a backdrop of crumbling elegance.