Reverist – Dreaming Onward
The story of Reverist, to this point at least, is a tale about inspiration. Omar Qazi’s attended a Keane show as an undergraduate student and left so indelibly impressed by the live experience that he resolved to teach himself how to play music and began writing songs soon after. Unlike many, Qazi didn’t sublet his home, buy a car, and drive off for California seeking fame and fortune. Instead, he wisely hedged his bets and finished his medical education. Once he established his career as physician, Qazi’s eyes and, most importantly, ears turned back towards his musical dreams. After meeting drummer Steve Addington, Qazi began working in earnest on the songs making their debut effort. Dreaming Onward is a five song collection guided by Qazi and Addington’s musical presence, but the quartet’s remaining members’ bassist Matthew Walsh and violinist Cooper Johansen make their presence felt strongly on the EP.
The symphonic grandeur of their synthesizer based songs will impress many. It’s their apparent aim from the first song on. “Superhero” practically swells out of the speakers with its steady pulse and chiming melodic lines. The tempo is never rushed and creates a massive group mere seconds into the track. Qazi’s vocals have a similar swelling quality. He sings like a man with the proverbial something to say, taking his time with each line but fueling the syllables with such emphatic force that it sounds like the man is singing for his life. There’s an affirmative air surrounding Reverist’s music that comes through even on the more uniform approach displayed in “Machinery”, but there’s a ringing, melodic quality that comes through the song’s music not in ready supply on earlier or later tracks. Qazi’s lustrous, melodic vocals are an ideal match for the song’s mood.
The mood turns sharply on “About the Past” from a relaxed, laid back approach towards a romping electronic attack that never rests. Addington’s ultra-aggressive drumming never tumbles into total chaos. He keeps the tempo on an unwavering course and it allows the surrounding instruments a chance to move freely over such a secure base. “They Are Weak, But We Are Strong” sports the EP’s best overall groove and, once more, Addington holds things down with his muscular, but highly rhythmic style. Qazi’s vocals have a nice percussive quality that suggests he’s tailoring his vocals against and around the attention-grabbing tempo.
The EP’s title song ends Reverist’s debut on a strongly melodic note. It’s a welcome shift after the pressure packed approach of the two preceding songs. Qazi responds with one of his most stylized, yet emotionally moving performances on the release. Reverist promises to bring a number of moods to the surface through their music and they succeed on that score, among many others. Few new bands embody the body and intellect in their songwriting so well. Dreaming Onward moves with beauty and purpose that will impress young and old alike.
9 out of 10 stars.