The In-Between Years: 1959-1963 opens with a flowing, sunken drone that swirls around a ghostly, ethereal vocal. They tie themselves together and remain bonded for life, like a lovers’ pact. It’s a truly beautiful start, and it remains a soothing, sedate listen throughout. Dreamsploitation binds the airy tones with the dark romanticism of early teen pop, circa 1959. The cute, love-struck lyrics invoked young love, a fast Harley or two and the heroic tragedy found in the death of a twenty-something. This darker side of love rose to prominence in popular culture, and for many it became something glamorous, rebellious and cool. Maybe the music wasn’t that innocent.
American popular music has naturally changed since the 1950’s – the era and the decade in which it first blossomed. The early, golden age has disappeared, and it’s now largely consigned to the history books and a backlog of old, dusty vinyl records. But its ghost lives on – the phantom voices and the submerged harmonies bring the era back into the faint light of day. Ambient in nature, the music is, at times, forlorn, and drenched in a painful longing. It has a deep need to find love and acceptance. Under its surface, the music almost seems to know that it doesn’t really belong in this era. Tracks such as “In Your Arms, I Don’t Belong” and “The Sadness In The Sunshine” are vintage-rich with classic chord progressions and ultra-soft harmonies that are still very popular today, and they change and revolve slowly.
This music had all the teens in a flutter and a frenzy, the parents much less so. In that period, the lighter, softer genre of rock n’ roll was turfed out by the stronger kid in the playground – rock music. But the popular records sound very different in the hands of Dreamsploitation. They have decayed, the decade has decayed. That’s why the music is so different now. The softer, lipstick kisses of “You Take My Love For Granted” can’t take away the pain that still exists after a girlfriend’s betrayal. And the closer “Guardian Star” has a hauntology feel to it, but it’s lighter than usual; think The Caretaker’s A Stairway To The Stars. They’re the remnants of a teenage dream that has had its heart crushed. The music emerges slowly, and a gentle loop becomes the recurring memory of an era that once was; 1959-1963. (James Catchpole)