No hope, no future, a constant war raging in the peripheries. I wanna laugh about it But I just can't laugh about it
And so it is then, this is a record about love and resistance. After the broken frigidity of Classical Curves, Jam City returns with an urgent, fearless and strikingly sensitive album of modern pop songs, both crushingly heavy and glitteringly light. Made by modest means, made by any means, the DIY origin of the record speaks to the artist’s faith in the power of music to not only transcend, but also to confront, unsettle, and suggest an alternative to the total colonisation of art by neoliberalism. Always raw, always in the red.
They tore down the homes, sold us some other dreams. What’s left? Miles of wasteland, flowers in the peripheries. Chorus guitars swollen, drums narcotic. The brashness and unpredictability of post-punk lost futures sublimated into the softest and sweetest of chord clouds. There's no question that you're listening to the same artist responsible for some of the most intense and influential club tracks of the last 5 years, on an album that could only be realised by Night Slugs. Dream A Garden is not a total break from the world of Classical Curves, but rather an inversion: what becomes of the people struggling to live and love beneath the chrome-plated, vacuous and superficial machinery that we must fight to see beyond?
While drawing on a diverse musical history (sound system guitar dynamix, punk, hip-hop, grime, country, the gothic and the modern), Dream A Garden remains rooted in the bleakness of the present: everyday life under the regime of high capitalism. Turning the avenues of lifestyle fascism we walk through everyday into psychedelic, surreal daydreams, Jam offers his songwriting as a coping mechanism, a form of re-scrambling a landscape dominated by ideologies of selfishness and hatred. In our age, the act of loving, being loved and giving love is radical; Dream A Garden refuses greed, violence, and the impossible ideals that gloat from every surface of our cities, infesting the spaces where humans once dreamed dreams of their own. A rejection of our 'fate' as the generation raised on empty promises, SSRIs and indefinite war; curtains closed, alienated from our bodies, our voices, our earth.
Singing, shouting sometimes barely audible, these songs are embedded with the outside sounds of sirens, TV ads, birds singing, rolling thunder and, like Curtis Mayfield said, “the joy of children laughing around you”. Through the chaos, unashamedly hopeful song writing emerges from the wreckage, battle-damaged but resilient, into a landscape where weeds and borage flowers reclaim the ruins of a dismantled 21st century.
They want us to be sad, They want us to be selfish, They want us to be unhappy, So we dream a garden, it's weeds quietly gatecrash this world."