With album art like this I can't believe I have not got around to reviewing these guys sooner! Eponymous in nature, this nine track record from this Massachusetts- born duo is actually their debut, but what a debut it is! Sent over via an incredibly mysterious and intriguingly sparse email, something about this two-piece and their playful ambiguity played on my conscience for a while. With spare time to take a listen, I've already expressed my unbridled apology for not doing so sooner! Simply put, its stunning. Twenty minutes of psychedelic space rock riding atop a surf-pop wave makes for a wonderful listen, and I loved every second of it! As a fantastically care-free and somewhat nostalgic experience, The Fantasies seem to me to be the perfect remedy to any winter blues that may be causing your nose to glow! A record of passion, intensity and individuality, the nine numbers retain a style all their own, supported by the brilliant use of samples, beats and vocals. Accumulating them all into an out-of-this-world recipe, the mixture often bubbles over the rim to glorious, smile-inducing cheers! An apt name for something so beautifully alien and yet so beautiful in its mortality, The Fantasies have created an escape from what is all too often a scarred, barren reality.
The relatively short album opens with 'Gimme Bubblegum', a track that fulfills the oath of dream-pop sensibilities conjured up by such an eponym. The repetition of 'm's and 'b's is a means to soften the hard edges carved out by jangly guitars and the naturalistic drum beat. Decidedly cheerful and all the better for it, the sample at the start of 'Tick Tock' goes some way in offsetting such emotional buoyancy. An older gentleman's quivering lips and down-trodden aspirations welcome vocals more enthusiastic than before! A definite Black Lips influence shows it face, hiding amongst the melodies and excited, frenzied singing. A pretty noteworthy guitar solo concludes the song and introduces 'So Dumb'. Cleaner and less reverberated, it's a croon-worthy, swoon-worthy number, and I admit I did both! These three minutes however are immediately overshadowed by 'Midnight Boogie', which is quite possibly my favourite number on 'The Fantasies'. Permanently out of breath and broken by interludes of screaming teenage fans, it is a beautifully constructed track. Magnificent!
After the melancholic vibe radiating around 'Earth Life', a song about the transcendent nature of the person you love, we're given 'Tammy The Tease'. Backed throughout by this deep and unique groan of sorts, that same cluttered ethos bathing 'Midnight Boogie' goes and makes its triumphant return! 'Turn Me On' follows with great spoken word sections but then 'How The Fantasies Stole Christmas' arrives, wrapped and tied and labelled to you! I almost fell into its mesmerising hum and crackle and beat, collective harmonies calling me with a tribal, ritualistic mentality. In the end though you realise the whole thing is beautifully upbeat and retrospective and considering the date, just perfect. 'Stuck In My World' is the rebellious teen of this album, striking out and swearing and obviously a little bit immature! 'The Fantasies' thus concludes, and I cannot deny that is has brightened up my day! An almighty success, stream 'Midnight Boogie' and then grab all nine tracks at The Fantasies Bandcamp page for absolutely no price at all. For such a non-existent price tag its a must!