Trevor Something has always struck me as a reflective artist; someone who incorporates personal emotions into his music, and through the prism of synthwave, we see a brilliant and oftentimes grim spectrum. His previous album, Trevor Something Does Not Exist, had darker tones to it, though it was punctuated with some outrun here and there. With his latest effort, Death Dream, Trevor seems to have travelled further down that dark alley, and the result is an enjoyable, if a bit inaccessible, drive into the dangerous metropolis of one man’s mind.
By and large this album is a mid to downtempo, churning, grinding, growling journey that is given supernatural airs through Trevor’s tortured crooning. 'Between If I Die', 'Possession', and 'The Touch of Your Skin', we are taken through a gallery of quiet horror. From an obsession with dying and oblivion, to addiction, to corrosive lust, we stand at each piece and reflect on our own dark corners. But when I say horror, I don’t mean horror synth or slasher wave, but the very real and difficult monsters that a lot of us face. The music itself is at times very grimy and oily, others very ethereal and a bit sci fi, with a healthy dose of glitch and chunky bass that’s sure to register on the Richter scale.
'Run Away' stands out on Death Dream because it’s a bit of a wake up call, but only in the sense that if the first five tracks were an opium dream, 'Run Away' is a tab of acid on the tongue. It’s all a somnambulant sensory overload, but as rough as these nightmares and dreams are to grapple with, you don’t want to be woken up. 'Run Away' bleeds into 'Through The Wormhole,' which bleeds into 'Your Sex Is A Dream', like paint running down a canvas only to reveal another work beneath it. 'Your Sex Is A Dream' is perfectly titled, written and composed. It’s dark and sensual in the way that Industrial or EBM tries to be, and produced with an impeccable cinematic flair.
'Can You Feel It' is probably my favorite track on Death Dream, if only for the faint echoes of some funky guitar strings which add a bit of levity to a song about descent into a narcotic fueled night on the town. The back third of the album is noticeably less dark but we still remain in a strange haze with 'No One Knows Your Name' and 'Trip', which are warmer chillwave-ish tracks. 'Forever' is the final love letter to painless oblivion, both tragic and welcoming, terrifying but inevitable. The fact that our storyteller doesn’t want to go alone, and asks for salvation, makes this a poignant track, and album as a whole.
I will say that at times one can become disengaged from Death Dream at times because the tempos, lyrical style and arrangements don’t vary too much. And then again that’s the point of the album. Taken as a whole it’s a meditation on stimulus and numbness, sex and death, a fear of pain but also oblivion. I think that if Clive Barker’s cenobites listened to music, Death Dream would be in their collection. It’s an emotional achievement in the genre, and in general a piece of art that shows the vulnerability of one person, and in turn asks the listener for the same self reflection.
Trevor Something presents Death Dream, which is available on his Bandcamp page here, and is very, very highly recommended by Synthetix.FM.