Late last week, I wrote about New York-based dream pop duo The Dream Eaters. And as you may recall, the duo, 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 can trace their origins back to 2015. As the story goes, after playing and touring in obscurity in both his hometown of Boston and New York, Zavracky had decided that it was time to give up music, and for a period do time he was working in a Brooklyn dive bar, where he met LeBaron, another bartender, who at the time had recently relocated to New York. Discovering that they were both musicians, they found an instant connection and began collaborating together — although initially, Zavracky had written songs for LeBaron. However, when Zavracky and LeBaron realized that their harmonies helped to create a truly unique sound, while drawing from dream pop, shoegaze, psych pop, folk and indie rock, they recognized that the best thing would be to be 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 soon-to be released full-length debut, We Are A Curse‘s 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 draws from Nick Drake and Crosby, Stills, and Nash-era folk. While thematically speaking, the song as the duo explained focuses on coming 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. And 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 aha 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. However, sonically speaking, 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.