Album Reviews: Dream Koala’s Odyssey EP and Hookworms’ Pearl Mystic

Dream Koala

Odyssey EP

Release Date: October 1, 2013

Growing up in Paris to Brazilian parents, the now 19 year-old Yndi Ferreira quickly taught himself to play guitar and sing by ear, and he began playing in various bands during his very early teens. By the time Ferreira had started his solo project, Dream Koala in 2012, he already had a reputation for his production style as he had been producing his own tracks and remixing the likes of Angel Haze and the 1975. In interviews, Ferreira has publicly explained that he wanted to have his own genre by mixing all of his influences together.  And from the material on EP’s three tracks, it’s very difficult to discern what actually informed it – in some way, the material sounds to my ears as though it would more likely to have been a B side to Radiohead’s “I Might Be Wrong” or “Knives Out” than to Ferreira’s influences, which he claims include Flying Lotus and My Bloody Valentine. However, there’s one quality that these artists manage to share – their material is often delicate and ethereal, and fraught with a deeply underlying anxiousness.

  EP title track, “Odyssey” as Ferreira has mentioned in interviews was inspired by a dream he had in which he died in a catastrophic plane crash. And so lyrically, the song covers a couple of common (and seemingly universal) fears – the fear of not having the chance of reaching your goals, and the fear of dying without feeling as though you accomplished anything. EP opening track “Architect” is somewhat reminiscent of Beacon in the fact that it employs the use of sparse beats and swirling electronics but the use of shimmering guitar throughout also manages to be kind of reminiscent of Radiohead – that is until the end of the song, which ends with gentle feedback before fading out in a whisper. “Ocean” shimmers like it’s namesake in the sun – and like all of the songs on the EP possess a hauntingly eerie beauty.


Pearl Mystic

Weird World Records

Release Date: September 3, 2013


Released Stateside on September 3rd, Pearl Mystic is the debut full-length effort from the Leeds, UK-based quintet Hookworms. And the album’s material is (reportedly) based on lead vocalist MJ’s on personal experiences – the breakup of a long-term relationship, bouts with depression and as he’s publicly mentioned, a “half-hearted suicide attempt.” Album opening track and first single “Away/Towards” sets the mood for the entire album. Full of layers of acid-tinged psychedelic feedback, thundering drums and MJ’s falsetto vocals, the track has an underlying sense of anxious dread and unease and malice that’s both unsettling and ominous. In some way, it evokes the dark claustrophobic, interiority that made DisappearsEra such a fascinating and frightening album. The batch of songs between the album’s second track “Form and Function” and “Since We Had Changed” manage to be slow burning tracks – “Form and Function” manages to be based around a bluesy guitar riff while “i,” “In Our Time” “Since We Had Changed” use an undulating, seemingly Eastern-inspired drone that reminds me of the Black Angels “Directions to See a Ghost.” Yes, on a certain level it can be eerie and menacing if you’re in the right mood for it – but on another level kind of meandering and dull if you’re not in the right mindset. “Preservation” “ii” pick up the pace sounding explosive, thunderous, unhinged – as though it expresses the anxious, unfiltered and vacillating thoughts of the Id of desperate, lonely, screwed up person. As a debut effort, it may not be perfect; after all, the album has its flaws: in particular, the instrumental songs employing the use of drone can feel kind of meandering but what Hookworms manage to do something that some bands have a difficult time doing on their debut efforts – creating a consistent and overarching mood throughout.