|Business of Dreams — Ripe for Anarchy (Feb. 1, 2019)
Business of Dreams — Ripe for Anarchy (Feb. 1, 2019)•• Classic indie pop given slick late~‘80s production by Terry Malts/Smokescreens’ guitarist Corey Cunningham.
Location: Westlake, Los Angeles, California
Album release: Nov 9, 2018
Record Label: Slumberland Records
01. Chasing That Feeling
02. My Old Town
03. Ripe For Anarchy
05. Don’t Let Our Time Expire
06. I Never Could Tell You
07. The Hatchet Song
08. Naive Scenes
09. La La La La
10. I Feel Dread
11. Keep The Blues Away
ƒ “‘Ripe For Anarchy’ is a quote from Sandra Cisneros’s poem “One Last Poem For Richard”. It perfectly summed up the songs for me. The album is about living in the moment, shedding neurosis, and the desire to discard the general societal malaise we’ve been roped into.”
ƒ Corey Cunningham’s first album as Business Of Dreams was similarly cathartic. When his father passed away, it brought Cunningham back to his home state of Tennessee where he was forced to confront a past he had run away from at the age of 19. “I’d gotten on a bus and randomly hopped off in the Bay Area. I lived in motels and looked for any work I could find. The first person I met was a guy in punk bands named Phil Benson who I ended up starting a bunch of bands with.” The duo would end up writing music together and playing in bands for the next 17 years, including indie~poppers Magic Bullets and punks Terry Malts, who later released three albums with Slumberland Records.
ƒ The exercise of making music to cope with loss proved to be much more when Bandcamp and Raven Sings The Blues put the eponymous debut in their year~end lists in 2017. Soon the live version of Business Of Dreams took shape as Cunningham opened for Rogue Wave on a national tour and played scores of local shows with Frankie Rose, Real Estate, and Cold Beat.
ƒ With “Ripe For Anarchy,” Cunningham has honed the songwriting with an eye towards regret, existence, and the need to push on. “When I’m gone you won’t cry for me, focus on the moment, be free”, he sings on the opening track “Chasing That Feeling.” And that’s the mantra here: it’s time to let go.
ƒ But “Ripe For Anarchy” is a through~and~through ode to indie pop, in the historic definition of the genre. “My Old Town” and “N.R.E.A.M.” could be album cuts on a Grant McLennan solo album, “Don’t Let Our Time Expire” and “Naive Scenes” could be The Smiths, the Sparklehorse cover "The Hatchet Song” bears an uncanny resemblance to Australian pop pioneers Even As We Speak, and “I Feel Dread” has the unmistakable earmarks of The Field Mice.
ƒ The deeper influences, however, are far more abstract. “I got really into FM keyboards and sampling for this album. The idea of making an album with indie pop songs filtered through late 80’s studio production was intriguing”, Cunningham says. “I was listening to a lot of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Comsat Angels”.
ƒ And while he may be more noted for playing guitar in chainsaw~pop stalwarts Terry Malts, New Zealand~worshipping Smokescreens, and Merge Record’s garage rock hero Mike Krol’s backing band, Cunningham is most at home making soft sounds extolling the wounded and dour. ƒ “I think music is the most personal of mediums. You can work and listen, you can run and listen, you can drive and listen. And I think I’m a misfit. If I can make the most personal music for misfits, then I’m satisfied”.
Andrew Duncan, JANUARY 28, 2019. Score: ★★★★
ƒ I have tried over and over again to pinpoint and isolate instances within Ripe For Anarchy and all it does is get me lost in Corey Cunningham’s ethereal pop songwriting. And then I am back to the beginning, listening intently to the album again and hoping to find something I can grab a hold of and dissect with persistence.
ƒ Then I realize Business of Dreams’ debut is not one to explore on a micro level but Cunningham’s work lies on a grandiose scale. Through heartache and sorrow emerges one of the more beautiful pop albums I have heard since Crushed Stars’ put out rainy day pop.
ƒ A few years back, Cunningham had to leave his work with Magic Bullets and Terry Malts to travel home and confront his father’s death. An overwhelming of emotions and a rush of memories led him to write Ripe For Anarchy. His coping mechanism became a glorious pop album that pushed him to stand out as a brilliant songsmith. The album does not sit with a band like Wooden Wand where vocals were scraped up from the gutter of despair. If you were not paying close attention, you would not recognize that this album was built on grief.
ƒ “Chasing That Feeling” is pop buzz that focuses on the warmth of melancholic melody in the same way Aztec Camera focused on being distinguished. “Drink away your cares today. Tomorrow will be done.” I don’t know if that is autobiographical, observational, or prophetic, but Cunningham builds gentle persuasion to live life in the now. It’s philosophy that reoccurs throughout Ripe For Anarchy. Much like Galaxie 500’s parental advice of not letting your youth go to waste, Business of Dreams expands with “Don’t Let Our Time Expire.” It’s one of the more balladry pop songs he performs that bears semblance to The Smith’s “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.” Sans drums, it’s a serious sit down that conveys exactly what this album’s aura revolves around.
ƒ Turning Sparklehorses’ “The Hatchet Song” into an open~armed pop opus is brilliant. The simplistic chord arrangement and Cunningham’s comforting vocals make this song a true darling of the album.
ƒ It’s ironic that Cunningham ends the album with a Joy Division~esque post punk song and calls it “Keep The Blues Away.” But in the end, the song fits. Cunningham cannot portray despair, but he can change coldwave bass pulses into sincere contemplation. From the sounds of Ripe For Anarchy, he never did let his youth go to waste, but bottled it up just for the right moment. The anarchy in this album is him unleashing an unregulated amount of creativity that blooms with brilliance. • http://www.selectivememorymag.com/
|Business of Dreams — Ripe for Anarchy (Feb. 1, 2019)