THE DREAM SYNDICATE: HOW DID I FIND MYSELF HERE?

September 5th, 2017 | Album reviews

THE DREAM SYNDICATE
How Did I Find Myself Here?
Anti-

After 29 years of a highly prolific, boundary-pushing, genre-defying solo career, Steve Wynn didn’t have to give us another Dream Syndicate album. But he just did–with original member Dennis Duck and longtime bassist Mark Walton (and is that original member Kendra Smith singing lead on “Kendra’s Dream?), How Did I Find Myself Here? is a huge surprise to those of us who obsessively covet their 1982 debut The Days Of Wine and Roses, an album that didn’t sound like anything else around then and still holds its place today. Sonically speaking, How Did I Find Myself Here? is the most gigantic Dream Syndicate album to date–a beautifully layered, euphoric feedback wonderland that could easily be interpreted as a more working-class Spiritualized hybrid—they’ve even added lush synths—without compromising that untouchable Dream Syndicate “it” thing. Wynn is one of those rare deadpan poets whose voice still drips warm emotion with every word—he may be the one of the last blue-eyed L.A. jivers alive today. There is equal part lightness and weight right out of the gates with “Filter Me Through You” setting the tone for the journey where you want to get right into your car and just drive—a driving record, no doubt, where you want to soak up the mystery of where you’re going rather than having any set destination. You’ll realize how perfect this analogy is once you hear the lines “Hands clutched rigid on the steering wheel / Whiskey underneath the seat, carefully concealed” on “80 West.” Adventure fever begins to set in during “The Circle” which calls to mind Minneapolis Twin/Tone punk scorch. The title track is an 11-minute funk-and-feedback jam that peaks the album’s cinematic quality–maybe this is where you stop at that liquor store and revel in the desolation out in the middle of nowhere, which is exactly where you want to be.

—Gabriel Hart

THE DREAM SYNDICATE’S HOW DID I FIND MYSELF HERE? IS OUT FRI. SEPT. 8 ON ANTI-.