It’s hard to avoid phoenix clichés with You’re Not a Dream. Ten years after a major label debut and resulting breakup, indie pop pioneers The Mommyheads are back, hailing the December 2007 death of former drummer Jann Kotik as a rallying cry. And after a decade apart, nothing has changed.
The latest wave of indie music is rife with The Mommyheads’ influence: Death Cab for Cutie, Fountains of Wayne, etc. But for The Mommyheads, that nostalgic pop sound is old hat. They perfected the sustain peddle and echo effect by the early ’90s, released a host of indie label albums and walked off stage the same year The Shins walked on.
You’re Not a Dream drips with the same finger-snapping charm that made The Mommyheads a cult favorite by 1995. Every rest and every refrain is peppered with musical subtleties like a dash of synth there, a full horn section there, and some ABBA-style backing vocals.
Even when You’re Not a Dream strays to repetition, comes off beat-heavy or lyrically weak, one can only assume it was intentional. After all, The Mommyheads are pros, weaving threads of blues, funk and rock into the fabric of what most bands don’t get: a second debut in the mainstream.