Adam R. Burnett
Bouquet’s new EP In A Dream lives up to its title in that it evokes the lush and hush of a spectral magic hour, the haze before falling asleep, and the calm, bleary eyes of early morning. Although upon first listen it would be easy to label their sound as a sibling of Beach House and a lyrical cousin of The Clientele, further listening reveals more intimacy and sonic isolation than either of those groups. Unlike Bouquet’s previous releases, In A Dream is more refined and hits a particular stride favoring electronic and synth orchestration, as opposed to the raw instrumentation they’ve exhibited in the past.
“If you want / To walk with me / I will welcome company / Though I know / I know I’ll never be / The one you’re looking for.” This opening invitation from the title track—possibly the most lyrically dynamic on the album—drives us into a dream world and establishes the satisfyingly static landscape from which the duo rarely strays.
Thematically, Bouquet lifts the listener above and away from civilization to the realm of specter: haunting a space absent of all but shadows, solitude, unoccupied houses, and ominous, silent mountain ranges. Like ghostly figures in the corner of your eye upon waking, Bouquet achieves a delicate tone that wavers in the space of electric half-sleep. That dreams may be the source of our desire and, as a result, our dissatisfaction, is clearly on the minds of these musicians.
The album leads us “To nowhere / No one, nothing” (a line from "Stacks on Stacks"), and evokes the beauty that comes from the acceptance of loss. There is resignation in this ghost world, a bold assurance in the futile wandering upon a void landscape. Each song is a crater in the moon and, for the most part, each looks much like any other.
The standout track, “Come to Your House,” is also the most lyrically prosaic, but breaks from the drizzle-effect of other songs to deliver a head-bopping kick of energy. “I want to come to your house / …You’ll never even notice” is the refrain of the album’s ghost, stalking a lover, “To caress your figurines / Lift my lips / Drink dust from your trophies.”
"You’ll never even notice,” though, may in fact be telling about the album as a whole. In this thoroughly dreamy atmosphere, the entire event slips by quickly and almost gets lost in the more immediate cacophony of life. Almost. For Bouquet gives you something simultaneously tangible and unreal to hold onto—it is a vague, shadowy thing. Precious, but ripe for repeated listening. And because of this, In A Dream is an elegant step forward for the group.