In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You

Prosthetic • 2023

A misogynist philosopher once suggested that people are like porcupines in winter. If they are too far away from each other, they freeze – too close, they inflict pain. The screamo band Dreamwell knows how smothering closeness can be. Their sophomore album, »In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You«, is riddled with misery. »You kept me warm, but took my breath,« singer Keziah Staska murmurs into the microphone. Intimacy is the stuff nightmares are made of. Dreamwell weaves claustrophobic soundscapes from despair. Similar to their debut, “Modern Grotesque,” the influence of Pianos Become The Teeth is palpable. But »In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You« is technically more proficient, more oppressive. This becomes especially evident on »All Towers Drawn In The Equatorial Room«. This cut-throat track is more reminiscent of Pyrrhon’s dissonant Tech-Death than Emo. It’s breathtaking. But with overbearingness comes a trade-off. »Modern Grotesque« was cathartic and allowed emotional connection that way. »IMSD,IABY« offers neither redemption nor ties above suspicions. Correspondingly, it’s harder to get into. At the same time, Dreamwell’s back-breaking atmospherics engage oppression. The band speaks openly about experiences with emotional abuse, PTSD and being trans. To them, pain is not a natural byproduct of closeness. Those who claim so are but trying to justify power structures. Dreamwell’s cries shatter such pallid pretenses. You’ll feel them in your bones.