The power and melodic stew bubbling over on Reverist’s five debut songs makes Dreaming Onward one of the year’s best indie music experiences. This is a band with great gifts and charisma, but they never pander to their audience. Instead, Dreaming Onward flows through its track listing with remarkable confidence that never overreaches its aims or loses itself in self indulgence. Reverist eschews the quartet’s usual reliance on guitars in favor of an array of synthesizer and keyboard based sounds. Reverist demonstrates a real penchant for lyrical piano and it provides quite a contrast against their often heavy electronic design. Vocalist and chief songwriter Omar Qazi has found fantastic creative partners in bassist Matthew Walsh, drumming Steve Addington, and violinist Cooper Johansen. They weave an impressive musical spell on Dreaming Onward that matches its title without ever falling into outright pretension.
“Superhero” has an energetic, emboldened step that comes bouncing out of the gate and Qazi does an amazing job of tailoring his voice to the music’s restless tempo and clean stride. Addington’s drumming has such joy pushing each beat that it isn’t difficult to imagine him bouncing slightly in his drum chair as he plays. There’s a similar energy pervading each of the album’s five songs, but Addington’s an expert at modulating the feel between songs as the need arises. The EP’s second song, “Machinery”, relaxes the attack some and the synthesizers follow suit. It’s a much simpler song, in some ways, than the other tracks on the EP and its success and failure ultimately boils down to its melodic appeal for specific listeners in a way not quite as true for the remaining numbers. “About the Past” inspires no such ambiguity. This is a song that won’t be denied and comes rushing out at the listener in a fiery and forceful way from the beginning. Qazi’s singing has the same inflamed passion and puts over the lyrical content with an excellent balance of enthusiasm and careful phrasing.
The EP’s second to last song “They Are Weak, But We Are Strong” comes surprisingly close to displaying straight up rock tendencies, but Reverist wisely never abandons their melody first approach in favor of a muscular groove. The song’s lyrical content has an excellent interpreter in Qazi and the close marriage between Steve Addington’s drumming and his vocal performance is a highlight of the song. “Dreaming Onward” earns points for a similar setup. The song’s melodic virtues are considerable and rank among the EP’s best, but Qazi and Addington seem to be ideal musical partners keenly tuned into each other and feeding off the other’s energy.
It makes for a tasteful, yet rousing finale for Reverist’s debut. This is a band with an uniquely positive point of view and a bigger picture mentality in both their lyrical content and musical approach that outstrips many of their peers. It doesn’t get much better for young bands than it does on their debut Dreaming Onward.