Boomkat Product Review:
Lynch protégé Dean Hurley meets the none-more-enigmatic Romance for a spellbinding, scanline-obscured examination of VHS-frazzled post-vapor euphoric melodrama on a feature-length episode resourced from YouTube’s shared memory banks.
Since joining forces with David Lynch on 2007’s 'Inland Empire’ as a sound supervisor, Dean Hurley has worked on the majority of his projects, most famously as a sound designer on 2017's ‘Twin Peaks: The Return'. On his own, Hurley has carved out a niche for a unique brand of burned melancholia that joins the dots between crumbled NYC illbient and stonewashed ambience - as heard on 2020's ace "Concrete Feather". Meanwhile, Romance, whoever they, he or she might be, has spent the last few years proving to us that high and low art can exist in perfect harmony, most recently sweeping Celine Dion samples into gut-wrenching Tarkovsky-esque mistral forms on the incredible 'Once Upon A Time'.
Together, the duo divine a masterstroke of concept and execution, ‘In Every Dream Home A Heartache’ celebrates the pulpy, melodramatic appeal of daytime soap opera, and its now nostalgic allure, thru a finely smudged lens of rearranged samples from YouTube. Embracing the genre’s curdled glamour and heart-rending tension from temporally displaced, hauntological perspectives, the duo draw on rich online archives as well as personal repositories for a contemporary classic that echoes the groggy air of The Caretaker and Pinkcourtesyphone’s valerian vapours via mistily soft-focussed nods to Angelo Badalamenti and Mark Snow.
Bathed in absorbing soft focus and the faint promise of menace in the air, the 13-part suite drifts scene to scene with a heart-in-mouth quality and flicker of intrigue that evokes the genre’s hyper-melodramatic examinations of hidden terror, secret relationships and familial turmoil amidst the mundane landscape of the domestic interior. Like the work of Hurley’s peer, David Lynch, on the original Twin Peaks series, he and Romance wrest a poetry from banal conventions conceived to keep viewers hooked, dangling us by a silvery thread with their gripping yet ephemeral limning of life and death narratives and navigation of nostalgic chicanery.
On that very uncanny sweetspot somewhere between Laura Palmer home videos, The Caretaker’s blurred memories and BoC interludes, this album really is the very last word.