Indiana-based quartet Thunder Dreamer released its fourth EP, “Summer Sleeping,” on Nov. 6, crafting a melancholic escape into the deserts of Southern California and featuring dreamy pop tones rooted in a midwestern twang.
After releasing their self-titled debut album in 2015, Thunder Dreamer has fallen into the niche of shoegaze pop, an indie-rock subgenre characterized by its use of effect pedals, feedback and guitar distortion. Transcending the band’s typical genre, “Summer Sleeping's" track list is full of folksy embellishments reminiscent of Utah band The Backseat Lovers.
The album’s opener, “House and Garden,” effortlessly intertwines piano harmonics with lead singer Steven Hamilton’s whimsical vocals. The track evokes the stomach butterflies of a budding romance with the lyrics: “It’s amazing what our hearts can do / Just me and you.” The addition of sparingly placed bell-like guitar notes throughout is a standout quality, creating an experimental yet refreshing vibe I just couldn’t get out of my head.
Perfectly simple, “Of A Million” features soft drums layered beneath sad-sounding vocals, both of which cultivated a feeling of loneliness. The lyrics “My brain won’t let me go / The heart beats fast and makes me slow,” describe the metaphorical immobility one may experience while enduring a breakup. I loved the track’s calming aura, which mimics a big hug comforting you through a good cry.
My personal favorite, “Lorraine,” is soulful and sweet, using fruity vocals and effect pedals to serenade listeners. Featuring reverbed electric guitar, the track’s production sounded reminiscent of The Backseat Lovers’ 2018 single “Pool House” — one of my absolute favorites from this past summer. Beyond its mellow production, the track include relatable lyrics: “It wasn’t hard to choose you / Was it you who truly chose me.”
More relaxed, “It Slows Down” contrasts nicely with the rest of the album, combining soft piano with grungy electric guitar. Although slow at first, the track’s production builds to a crashing crescendo, eventually tapering to a soft breakdown. Compared to the rest of the album’s tracks, this one felt angsty.
“Blurred Out” fuses ‘90s-inspired elements with storytelling similar to that of rock band Death Cab for Cutie. From its standout guitar solos to its multi-layered drums, everything about this track feels melodramatic. Similar to the album’s last track, the lyrics take a back seat on this one, showcasing its production as its main focus.
With only 4,334 monthly listeners on Spotify, Thunder Dreamer is clearly up-and-coming, so I’m thankful to have come across “Summer Sleeping.” Those looking to celebrate the presidential election results with a windows-down victory lap should look no further than Thunder Dreamer’s five-track heater.