I first became acquainted with the name of Poppy Gonzalez through the bands that she has accompanied, such as Mojave 3 and Sing Sing. I’d see her name listed in the credits or on live bills, usually with any number of instruments to her credit. Dreamfield, however, is Gonzalez’ own project (along with bandmates Gregg McKella and Amy Tucker).
It’s a bit hard to get a real feel for her own work in Dreamfield with Christopher’s Dream, since it only contains 2 “real” songs (with the other 2 tracks being remixes). However, based on what I’ve heard so far, you can consider my curiosity officially piqued.
The title track blends acoustic guitars, turntables, Middle Eastern flutes, and fragile female vocals in a dark, hypnotic manner. The mood is similar to that which you might find on a Cranes record, but only if the Shaws had delved more into Bristol’s music culture rather than, say, that of The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees. “Alive” starts off on a more electronic note, with sparse tones and programming, before the guitar and drums kick in. The vocals take on an even wispier feel and are joined by a horn arrangement that would feel quite at home on Locust’s “Morning Light” album.
The final two tracks are remixes of “Christopher’s Dream.” While they’re decent enough, I was actually left wanting to hear more original material. The “Dark Mix” lives up to its name, giving the song a colder vibe through its sparser mix, icy vocal treatments, and heavier drums. Meanwhile, the “Anime Mix” puts a more electronic spin on the song, with crunchier beats and some semi-industrial synthwork.
Hoping to hear more, I checked out the band’s MP3.com website and downloaded a couple of songs from a 2002 live performance. Both tracks were much more stripped down and basic, with obviously fewer electronic aspects. While both songs were alright, they felt more like works in progress, especially when compared to the material on this disc. Hopefully by now, the band has had a chance to rework and recast them in the studio, giving them the same qualities that this single possesses.