What’s in a name? Cooper’s Dream
is a five-track EP by Virginia-based Wesley Bunch, a.k.a. Suburban Living
. For Twin Peaks
aficionados, the title immediately conjures up images of Special Agent Dale Cooper, visitations from a ghostly giant, a backwards-speaking dwarf, and those darn red drapes. Bunch says he penned the songs while out of work and overdosing on Twin Peaks
even though he maintains the seminal David Lynch soap didn’t directly inspire his work. Maybe it’s just Bunch’s way of remembering where he was at the time.
Nevertheless, the record shares much of its titular reference point’s dreamlike quality. The opening track, “I Don’t Fit In”, smacks you right between the eyes with a hail of layered 80′s guitar and hazy synths over a crisp, insistent drumbeat. While lyrically not adding a great deal to the world’s lexicon, Bunch’s vocals echoing within the mix transform the song into a summer anthem.
It’s tough to ask the rest of the EP to measure up, but Bunch tries. The central riff in “Give Up” trades in Altered Images’ UK ’80s combo; despite honeyed choral assistance from Emily Hill, the song lacks Clare Grogan’s shrill pubescent vocals. “Cooper’s Dream”, which completes the collection, benefits from a potent melody– Bunch sings and plays all the instruments on the record, apart from Sarah Kingsley’s cello on the title track– but like the opening track, the vocals merge too much into the mix to make their point until the very end.
In between there’s a short, ambient instrumental called “Prom” that recalls the work of Ryuchi Sakamoto for one, whose melancholy tone suggests Bunch may not have had a date, while “Float In Clouds” shimmers through a haze of treble guitar and synth-effected vocals storming to a crescendo. It’s a promising EP, but don’t miss “I Don’t Fit In” before summer’s out.
Essential Tracks: “I Don’t Fit In”