The more I listen to new music being released in 2022, the more I think that next British Invision in the US is immanent. I’m not sure if the British bands are getting better at playing an American type of rock or is the US indie music going back to its British roots. Whatever the reason, I’m not going to complain. In the 90’s, we had only one British band that managed to break through on the other side of the pond and that was when “Sixteen Stone” by Bush debuted on Billboard top 10 in 1994. 28 years later, we have Bob Vylan, Nova Twins, IDLES and others getting fantastic response from the American listeners. Let’s hope that upcoming and unsigned bands such as Carbon Daydreams will have their chance to shine as well.
Official bio: Beds/Bucks based indie band Carbon Daydreams take inspiration from 80’s and 90’s indie and alternative rock to write their own brand of catchy, high tempo songs. Expect guitar melodies unashamedly influenced by Johnny Marr; intricate, finger-picked bass lines, and carefully arranged keys, which create the context for compelling lyrics and disco-inspired rhythms. During 2022, the band have been cementing their presence on the local live scene, with recent support slots with Desperate Journalist and The Woodentops at Bedford Esquires; gigs at The Horn (St. Albans), The Portland Arms (Cambridge) and MK11 (Milton Keynes). On 29th April, Carbon Daydreams marked the start of their next chapter with the release of their first professionally produced single “Runaway” – the first of a string of singles recorded with and produced by Ru Cook. Their newest single “Good Life Bad Life” is out now.
Cover art by Graham Jones
Carbon Daydreams came to our attention in May when they released their debut single “Runaway”. We wanted to review it back then, but it proved impossible with other deadlines and music campaigns. However, their newest release “Good Life Bad Life” is equally excellent, so we are more than happy to say that if you haven’t yet listened to them, please do so as the band is really going from strength to strength.
“Good Life Bad Life” draws inspiration from 80’s and 90’s American pop/rock music without falling into a trap of repeating the same patterns or becoming a carbon copy of heritage acts that are making come back on the festival circuit. That’s pretty impressive skill, as many bands try to do the same and fail miserably. It takes a great dose of originality and dexterity to look up to They Might Be Giants or LifeHouse and create their own sound, especially if you have only two digital (“Suzy Knew”, “Uptown”) and two traditional releases behind your belt.
Maybe this is what makes Carbon Daydreams stand out. Their American musical references are far and wide – from Talking Heads, Better Than Ezra, Howie Day, Toad the Wet Sprocket to The Deep Blue Something and Jimmy Eats World – it is a rich and varied pool of influences that will frankly never run out of great ideas for songs. On the other hand, they are solidly grounded in British rock as well – if you listen closely, you will hear Johnny Marr, The Smiths, The Cure – absolute pillars of indie rock on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Put it all into one pot, add gentle rhythm section, distorted guitar and some catchy riffs – you will end up with a track just like “Good Life Bad Life”.
Picture by Neil McCarty
I have to add that Ru Cook, their producer and owner of Lost Boys Recording Studio, did a first-class job on this track. It is an absolute pleasure to listen to the song even on repeat for several hours – you can’t get bored of it. I love how well it is produced and mastered. Ru has worked with everyone from Alfie Templeton, Everything Everything to Nik Kershow and his experience really shines through. I hope this will be a prime example why young bands should carefully choose their producers. Having the right person in the studio, someone who actually understands your music is vital and can make even a boring track into a top 10 hit single.
There is only one thing that truly worries me, and sadly this is something that becomes a constant feature in my recent reviews. With their American orientated sound, Carbon Daydreams would be much better appreciated in the US. Over here, sandwiched between skinny white girls pretending to be indie musicians and Oasis inspired lads bands, there is very little breathing space for bands like them. Their music requires certain open mindedness, acceptance for something new, a sense of adventure in the sonic sense. With regular British music consumers, used to the same old tunes being played on the radio, a novelty act like Carbon Daydreams, can be misunderstood and overlooked.
Picture by Andy Dishman
I really need to start playing the lottery. When I hit the jackpot, I will be taking a lot of young bands to America. That’s a promise.
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