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Dramamine - When The Time Comes (self-released)

22 March 2024

Where does shoegaze end and dream-pop begin? Where do the oft-squalling walls of noise that define the former ease themselves into the latter’s calmer and more considered sound? There is no definitive answer to that, but wherever those two genres do ebb and flow against each other is a place where Dramamine is perfectly at home.

The smart thing about Dramamine, one of the many exhibited on their latest album, When The Time Comes, is the ability to build big, wide-screen and cinematic soundscapes out of the most gossamer and delicate of sonics. Here, we see the art of making music that makes itself known not through bombast and boldness cliches or the cheap tricks of velocity and volume but through a cocooning pervasiveness that encompasses the senses and takes the listener with it on an ethereal journey.

There are more beat-driven moments, such as “Somebody Else”, a neat balancing act between structure and sweeping sonics, the drums seemingly there to tether the song lest it disappears on the breeze. Then there are songs such as “Heal Always” which almost wander into pop territory. Well, they almost wander into the fringes of alt-pop, which is, in turn, the outer circles of pop itself.

And then there are songs such as the album’s swan song, “Heavy Wears the Crown” which is the musical equivalent of a golden haze breaking through the clouds, less music, more an atmosphere, or a euphoric mood.

Dramamine proves that music doesn’t have to be a blunt instrument; it can, and perhaps should, be more expressive than that. Why sucker-punch your prospective audience when you can embrace it?