The kinetic force crackling through the five songs on Reverist’s debut EP Dreaming will find its ultimate express on a full length effort, but this abbreviated introduction to the band will send them straight into the spotlight with ease. The band hails from the Orlando, Florida area and has been working as a quartet on their first release since last year. The payoff is more than respectable. Dreaming Onward is a deceptively varied release that calls upon a variety of moods to make its final impressions. The band adopts a quasi-symphonic approach to their orchestration of keyboard and synthesizer sounds with the obvious idea that bigger is always better. The band is lead by vocalist and songwriter Omar Qazi, but his fellow players round out the lineup in spectacular fashion.
There’s a surge in every song. It’s the sound of the band’s spirited energy stretching the song’s boundaries and yearning to burst free. Few songs on their debut personify that attitude more than the EP’s first track “Superhero”. Qazi turns in a stirring singing performance, but yet he wisely underplays it and never risks pulling it into cheap pop theatrics. It’s something that makes each track on Dreaming Onward glow with seldom heard sincerity. “Machinery” moves into a different mood almost immediately – but the automated patterns of the song’s opening soon opens into a much more melodic, chiming framework. This song never really solidifies like the EP’s other tracks do, but it lightens the thrust of what can be, at moments, quite an immersive experience. It might be slightly out of the position in the track list and could be less obviously “grouped” with on retrospect.
The aforementioned grouping becomes a little clearer with the two following songs. “About the Past” and “They Are Weak, But We Are Strong” explores much more of the rock spectrum than the EP’s other songs. They aren’t melody free, but Reverist’s songwriting is clearly chasing patterns and “riff” oriented turns much more seriously here than on earlier songs and the groove is much deeper than before. Much of the power in these songs is attributable to Steve Addington’s physical presence on drums. The EP’s final song “Dreaming Onward” is a return to the approach of the debut’s first two songs with its evolving melody lines and lighter hues. The same dense symphonic cast to the band’s synthesizers and keyboards remains, but the aforementioned melodic strengths tempers its weight.
Dreaming Onward is a different beast than most debuts. Omar Qazi and his collaborators have produced an outstanding first effort with songwriting that has real depth, technical expertise, and mature feeling. People who love this will be rightly expectant of the band’s presumed full length debut and it can’t arrive soon enough. Few bands have come so far in so little time artistically.
9 out of 10 stars.