After turning heads with the densely orchestrated Riddles, produced by Dan Deacon, the Baltimore-based duo Ed Schrader’s Music Beat have given us another giant leap forward with their fourth record Nightclub Daydreaming. The whiplash-inducing stylistic shifts between aggressive noise rock and operatic gloom pop that have become the band’s trademark have given way to a single aesthetic that fuses both impulses. On Nightclub Daydreaming, menace teems just below the surface as propulsive, stark arrangements leave space that Schrader fills with strident, reverb-soaked narration.
When Ed Schrader and Devlin Rice began writing the record in 2019, the idea was to make a fun, danceable album, but an underlying moodiness proved unshakeable. As Schrader puts it, “The cave followed us into the discotheque.” The band recorded and mixed Nightclub Daydreaming over a two-week period with Craig Bowen at Tempo House in Baltimore with David Jacober on drums, turning demos with artificial sounds and placeholder melodies into fully realized songs playable by a live band. The end result is not the album of “sunny disco bangers” that Rice says the band set out for, but something deeper, darker and more rewarding.
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