Eleventh Dream Day - Works for Tomorrow

by Rob Taylor Rating:7 Release Date:2015-07-24

Tenacious indie mainstays Eleventh Dream Day return with their 12th album, Works for Tomorrow, a title they say is indicative of a forward shift in momentum. Preparation for the album was a lengthy residency at Chicago’s Hideout where they trialled the songs in front of a live audience, tweaking the sounds along the way. It’s quite obvious when you hear the results. Works for Tomorrow has the urgency of a live show, and an unfussy straight-ahead sound production.  

There’s a perception that Eleventh Dream Day has never risen above being a second tier indie-rock band. The perception is not entirely accurate, except that they’ve never produced the standout tracks to entice new fans into their dense sound-stage. They ride some interesting boundaries, being inspired by Neil Young’s guitar work with Crazy Horse, also sharing with Sonic Youth a white-hot intensity in the lead breaks. Evidenced also on Works For Tomorrow’s ‘Go Tell It’ are shards of boogie and soul-rock, sounding in combination like Billy Gibbons and Lisa Kekaula of The Bellrays.

In fact, Janet Beveridge Bean’s vocals chords are marvelously opened out, varying from the shouty angst of ‘Vanishing Point’ to the soul wailing of the aforementioned ‘Go Tell It’. Rick Rizzo’s vocals are otherwise perfectly good on the album, and sound very much in tone like Thurston Moore or Robert Forster. 

What, in fairness, strikes me about Eleventh Dream Day, and always has, ever since I was seduced by the sounds of Zeroes and Ones in 2006, is that they are an excellent and very underrated indie-rock band. They’re given over more to the classical elements of rock, aggressive vocal and guitar interplay, stomping percussion, and a propensity to lurch between atonalism and a more pleasant song-based framework.

That none of their songs ever really veer towards commercial appeal is part of their endearment. Having said that, if we lived in a world in which (generally) people’s tastes in rock music didn’t suck so much, or the college-rock scene was as alive as it was in the 1990s, tracks ‘People’s History’ and ‘Go Tell It’ would be major hits. 

Honestly though, I’ll bet anyone who saw the live shows in Chicago would attest to the strength and power of their indie-rock voice. For fans of Sonic Youth, Bob Mould, The Bellrays and Giant Sand.

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