Dream State – Recovery (Review)

UK alt rock act Dream State, coming off the back of a UNFD signing as well as multiple successful singles, have announced their new EP Recovery. Recovery is set to come out on May 18 via UNFD, and follows the journey of vocalist CJ Gilpin through her own personal recovery. Through the EP she goes from internal chaos to a state of inner calm, as each song relates to a different stage of her recovery. Dream State is CJ Gilpin on vocals, Jamie Lee on drums, Danny Rayer on bass, and Aled Evans and Rhys Wilcox on guitar. With this I jumped in to take a gander at Recovery.

Track one is the very successful single “White Lies,” which appears to be about addiction, and coming to terms with the fact that you aren’t alright. The song follows CJ as she realises that her addiction is taking over her life. She talks about it becoming such a big part of her that its taking over her mind, as her own voice grows quieter every day, and the demons get louder every day. It speaks of not caring about what happens to you when you go through these things, and how she is woken up when she realises how her actions are affecting other people.

Feeding the addiction never helps, as “enough’s never enough”, and she speaks to the addiction as if it is just another voice in her head, or another part of her. There is a feeling of helplessness to this track, but that slowly goes away as CJ accepts that she needs help.

“I need help. I’ve gotten myself lost again.
I can’t do it on my own. I don’t know what to do.
Please don’t go. Just help me. I can’t do this on my own.”

The whole track is about accepting that you need help during a struggle with addiction, and this is expressed through some strong lyrical content, as well as the fast paced manic instrumentals matching the content of the song. The vocals get more desperate as the song goes on, and the emotion behind the song can be heard. Instrumentally the song is also great, as it toes the lines between punk, rock, and hardcore, in a way that creates a very enjoyable piece.

 

The second track off Recovery is yet another single from the EP, “In This Hell.” After realising you need help the next step is giving it up, which is what “In This Hell” appears to be about. A large struggle is dealing with yourself afterwards, and this song lyrically expresses what is going on in CJ’s head whilst going through this stage. The demons appear to be back, constantly talking to her and continuing their unrelenting assault on her mind.

She no longer has that crutch of addiction to lean on, or to blame everything on, and without that she is in a constant state of anxiety and pain. Clearly she is struggling through this part, and doesn’t know whether she is going to make it through or not. Sleep eludes her because of the endless thoughts flowing through her head, as she wonders whether or not it is worth it, or if she will ever be the same.

“I’m beyond repair. I’m hopeless. Its all endless.
Battle of affairs, its always in my head.”

CJ truly felt like she was stuck in her own private hell, and shares that with us in a fairly intimate way through “In This Hell.” Evident is a fairly impressive vocal performance from CJ herself, setting the mood for the track as she goes between harsh and clean vocals with the smoothness of butter. The choruses are catchy and the verses are enjoyable. The drums and guitars are noticeably impressive in this track as well, as the fast paced style mixes perfectly with the vocals to create a hard hitting belting song.

 

“Help Myself” is the third track off Recovery, which is gelling together perfectly so far. It is one of the heavier songs off the release, and features some particularly impressive instrumentals in regards to some unreal guitar work and some solid drum fills. CJ is yet again impressive, matching up her vocals with whatever emotion is being shared through the lyrics at the time.

The fast paced manic instrumentals match up with the subject matter of the song, as CJ struggles with her own mind still. Through the song it speaks of CJ’s ongoing battles with her own mind, as she continues to have the darker thoughts where she doesn’t believe she will be able to help herself out of this situation. She doesn’t know if she can make it, and is hoping for someone else to come and help her. She is losing who she is, and wants desperately to be reminded of that, and get back to who she is.

“Whats the point when I don’t know who I am.”

The constant battle cry of “I can’t help myself” is powerful, and is repeated right up until the final verses where CJ appears to come out on top and realise again what she needs to do to help herself even more. The motivation is suddenly there as she wants to try and save herself again. “Help Myself” is a heavy and fun song and is actually one of my new favourites. The vocals are fantastic and the heavy post-hardcore instrumentals in this are an absolute treat to listen to.

“Solace” is next, and opens with a fast upbeat rocky sound, as well as some lovely clean verses from CJ. It speaks of CJ finding a release in her writing, as she finds her own “happy place” and her own space. “Solace” is largely about getting better after a battle with yourself, and is getting into the stages of Recovery where CJ starts to come good. It projects a feeling of relief, as she can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. CJ shares that it is okay to not be okay, and that once you realise this you can beat anything.

“Don’t listen to what they say it isn’t true. Its okay to not feel alright.
This is your place, this is your time.”

Heavy and hard instrumentals are common towards the end of this song, as it gets faster and harder. The choruses and echoing backing vocals are perfect. Harmonious and brutal at the same time, they go together with the instrumentals like Spongebob and Patrick. The heavy and clean vocals are yet again ridiculously good, and the message sent through the track is also quite a wholesome one.

The fifth and final track is the last single, “New Waves.” The final stage of the recovery is feeling good about the journey you have gone through, and acknowledging how you have got to where you are. This part in regards to CJ is when she has got to where she wants to be, and is setting her future goals even higher than they were before. She is leaving behind all of the toxic people that were holding her down, and wants to start again. She wants to take off on a new journey, and rewrite her own story.

“Cause all I want is another chance. A new beginning.
I just want to make new waves, and find a new way out.”

“New Waves” is written as a reminder to everyone that the good times are yet to come, and that you need to persist and help yourself in any way you can so that you can get there. It is an uplifting, successful feeling song, which is not doubt a proud reminder to CJ of where she has been, where she is now, and how far she has come: “I’ll wear these scars, on my sleeves, real proud, like my broken heart.”

The lighter, higher sounding guitars and the rockier drums combine to create the really wholesome vibes that come with this track. The addition of the clean, soft vocals reinforces this feeling even more.

 

The final chapter in a story filled and fantastic EP, “New Waves,” is the happy ending that we are all after. The icing on the cake, as it were. It is upbeat, happy, and a very enjoyable and uplifting end to Recovery.

Recovery as a whole is a fantastic record. It tells a great story from start to finish as it follows CJ’s journey, and is really quite personal and intimate in the way it does so. The whole thing is an open window into her past, and must have taken a lot of courage to write. The instrumentals are great, as the post-hardcore/punk/rock vibes keep the energy high, and seem to match up perfectly with whatever tone the lyrics suggest it needs at the time. CJ’s talent as a vocalist is sublime as her harsh vocals are equally as enjoyable as her cleans, and she is able to display emotion in a unique way that not many vocalists can do simply through their vocals. She truly is talented, as are all the musicians involved in Dream State. This is something special, and will no doubt bring them a mountain of success. The EP moulds together, and really feels like one where it is best to repeatedly listen to it full. Recovery is a story, and will hopefully help Dream State in writing the next chapter in their journey together.

To CJ, Aled, Rhys, Danny, and Jamie, well done!

Recovery is out May 18. You can pre-order here: https://unfd.lnk.to/Recovery

Dream State - Recovery
  • EP Rating
    10
The Good

Great lyrically. Tells a story from start to finish. Vocals are unreal. Instrumentals are solid.

The Bad

None.

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Josh Hockey

Melbourne based music journalist who is ridiculously passionate about music, and spends every possible moment listening to it, seeing shows, and of course wearing the merch.

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