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The Real Tuesday Weld
Dreams Aug Stone , September 29th, 2022 08:56

For their penultimate album, The Real Tuesday Weld offer up their own unique take on pop

The Real Tuesday Weld know dreams, romance, and the particular intersections of the two. These themes have been present throughout main man Stephen Coates’ work, reaching a pinnacle with ‘Dreaming Of You’ and the band’s BFI-commissioned alternative score for Hans Richter’s 1948 surrealist film Dreams Money Can Buy. In 2020, after twenty plus years, the band announced they would be releasing a series of three albums as their swan song before calling it a day, with each record possessing a particular theme. Following on from Blood, last year’s noir outing; Dreams is the ‘pop’ component of the final trilogy. Pop as only The Real Tuesday Weld do it, of course.

The album seems to run the span of a lifetime, from birth to death. Opener, ‘Young Love’, swirls in the heavens, like an old-time movie portrayal of an arrival at the pearly gates. A soul thinking back to its youth, repeating a four-word mantra as ethereal chords build underneath to a rather gorgeous recollection-in-sound of a life well-lived. With this being the band’s penultimate album, one can’t help but see a strong parallel here. But there is no question about equating Dreams’ second track to the second stage of life. ‘Kinky Love’ offers sultry teenage lust from Sephine Llo on lead vocals, though the music itself is at a more relaxed pace, laying back in fine Bacharach-style pop tradition and arrangement, complete with flute solos. Reminiscent, too, of The Divine Comedy or Saint Etienne when they are in this mode. And lovely horn parts, if this doesn’t lay the metaphor on too thick.

Coates comes in with his natural, non-falsetto voice, for the first time on ‘Bones Dreams Blood’. Intriguing lyrics which conjure up a host of feelings and images. Pulsed by an acoustic guitar, with playful strings, vibes, and saws over it, he offers another of his distinctive London-centric romantic tales. ‘Ever After’ is another one of these, and the highlight of the record. A sumptuous dreamscape, it picks up pace as it goes, pulsing with the busy-ness of a surreal station sending passengers continuously out past the liminal, the bonds of love evoked by Danish singer Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg duetting with Coates the whole time. Female voices abound on this record (a very good thing) and up next is A Girl Called Eddy on ‘Lost Endeavour’, calling back the lush 60s pop of ‘Kinky Love’. ‘Comme Dans Un Rêve’ is a fantastic pop song helmed by Oriana Curls adding a bit of Gainsbourg to the flavour.

In the piano and title of ‘Bodhisattva Of The Gulag’, one can hear the influence of Coates’ recent efforts getting Russian composer Mikhail Tariverdiev’s work released in the West. There’s a bit of Bowie’s ‘Ashes To Ashes’ too in the chorus, but in the end it’s all The Real Tuesday Weld. Second-to-last tune ‘Everything’ possesses optimism in the face of bleakness and here the claim of the album representing a lifespan really rings true. To be followed by an acceptance of death with the instrumental ‘Last Light’, complete with the sound of a record circling at the end of its groove. Again reminiscent of celestial scenes, this song and ‘Young Ones’ flow into one another, continuing on in the cycle of rebirth.

Perverse may be too strong a word – Kinky Love aside – but The Real Tuesday Weld have certainly always had an idiosyncratic approach to getting their work out there, from soundtracks to films and books, three inch holiday EPs and a live clarinetist. So, true to form, there is also a bonus limited-edition cassette available, Late Flowering Reveries, in cigarette-carton packaging, that contains at least three pop gems – ‘When You Showed Up’ (the English version of ‘Comme Dans Un Rêve’), ‘Your Version Of Me’, and ‘Hold Onto Love’ – that are essential if you’re a fan of the band.