If you were frequenting this site earlier this year, you may recall a couple of posts I wrote about New York-based dream pop duo The Dream Eaters. Comprised of Boston, MA-born, New York-based composer and songwriter Jake Zavracky and Vancouver Island, BC-born, New York-based vocalist and musician Elizabeth LeBaron, the New York-based dream pop duo can trace their origins together back to 2015. After playing and touring in obscurity both in his hometown and New York, Zavaracky had decided to give up music and for a period of time he was working in a Brooklyn dive bar, where he met LeBaron, a fellow bartender and musician, who had recently relocated to New York. When they both discovered that they were musicians, they found an instant connection and began collaborating together — although the initial arrangement was that Zavaracky had written songs for LeBaron. However, when they realized that their harmonies helped create a truly unique sound, they recognized that the best thing would be to write, record, and perform together.
Initially writing and performing as Jake and Elizabeth, the duo saw a rapidly growing profile; however, as they began to further refine their sound, they felt that it was necessary to rebrand themselves, eventually taking up the name The Dream Eaters. And as The Dream Eaters, Zavracky and LeBaron released their self-produced debut EP Five Little Pills, an effort which has proven to be the precursor of the bare-bone production and sparse yet hauntingly gorgeous sound of their full-length debut, We Are A Curse and its first single “Dead On The Inside.” Sonically speaking, the duo pairs LeBaron’s lilting and effortless vocals with gently strummed folk-like guitar and chiming percussion with a soaring hook which displays the duo’s stunning harmonizing. And while bearing a resemblance to Moonbabies’ Wizards on the Beach, the song manages to sound as though it nods at Nick Drake and Crosby, Stills, and Nash-era folk. Thematically speaking, the song as the duo explained focuses on becoming unmoored and getting lost, and walking around with the realization that you’re living in a murky, anxious and unforgiving dream, evoking what many of us feel living in this surreal political climate; and while being a gorgeous and understated protest song, there’s an underlying sense of resolve and determination to survive and overcome the dark days ahead.
Interestingly, “Neanderthals,” We Are A Curse‘s second and latest single wasn’t originally meant to be on the album — and according to Zavracky is a revised and altered version of a song that he had originally written towards the end of the Bush Administration. After the 2016 presidential election the song seemed sadly relevant again, and ultimately came together very quickly. As Zavracky explains the song starts with a very pessimistic us vs. them mentality but takes on an optimistic, sort of “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” type of sentiment. “It’s mean to be more inspirational than negative by the end,” Jake Zavracky says. Elizabeth LeBaron adds that over the past couple of months, the song has grown and developed a much deeper meaning, even after they had finished it. “When we decided to record this song, the Women’s March was breaking records all over the world and this song felt like an anthem. ‘They won’t make us crawl / They’re all neanderthals’ are words that I think will resonate with anyone who is against the ‘archaic’ ideologies being pushed by the new administration,” LeBaron says. Sonically, the duo pairs shuffling, trip hop-inspired beats with their gorgeous harmonies, twinkling keys and a soaring, anthemic hook to craft what may be the most strident and forcefully political song they’ve released to date.
With the assistance of their PR firm, Behind the Curtains Media, the New York-based dream pop duo recently released live footage, performing “Neanderthals” in the studio. Check it out.