Ryan Policky and Gabriel Ratliff are hoping that with A Shoreline Dream, the maxim that the third time is the charm holds true. A Shoreline Dream, a band whose name sounds like a Cure song, is the duo’s third band project. Pure Drama, their art rock beginnings, and Drop the Fear, their female fronted second attempt, didn’t last any longer than their first. Their third try as A Shoreline Dream finds the duo joining with two new musicians, guitarist Erik Jeffries and bassist Enoc Torraca, and exploring yet another new direction.
Avoiding the Consequences is the title of Policky and Ratliff 3.1, in other words, the debut album from A Shoreline Dream. This Denver, Colorado quartet are pushing the sonic boundaries of the typical rock band, experimenting with sound, and just making texturally interesting songs. And you know what that means, here come the comparisons to Slowdive, Ride, Sigur Rós and Godspeed You Black Emperor. But in reality, A Shoreline Dream sounds like what you might expect if you took the timeline of the work of the Cure, then folded it up into a taco shell, pressing the early and the later years together into one double-layered mash-up. The dark and brooding epic sonic texture is there, minus the trademark Smith caterwauling, but with a modern twist and more of a rock and roll spirit. You can hear that kind of dichotomy on songs like “Focus the Present,” with a hint of menace and a wagonload of drama.
Ryan Policky’s lyrics are practically unintelligible throughout the record, but that doesn’t seem to matter too much. With a Shoreline Dream, as with likeminded `shoegazer’ bands of the early ’90s, it’s not really about the words. It’s about atmospheres, and this group creates more atmospheres than clubs in Greenwich Village. “Hook Echo” has moments when you feel like you’re attending a Police jam session from the early 80’s, and others that put you into another world entirely. Policky might be singing in English on “Love is a Ghost in America,” but who could possibly tell? It might as well be `Hopelandic’ for all we know. Again, the music is such the star of this band, that it doesn’t make a difference.
A Shoreline Dream may not blow your mind, be the next big thing, or show extreme originality, but Avoiding the Consequences is an exercise in taking a genre and making it one’s own. They say that the average person has seven careers in their lifetime. If the same can be said for bands, then Ryan Policky and Gabriel Ratliff have four more to go. However, something about the complexity and lush atmospheres of their new band, A Shoreline Dream, tells me that the third time really is the charm.