Album Review: Curse by Pale Dream

Imagine Matt Healy on a tranquilizer, and as his vision fades, the corners blur, things slow down, and his voice drops.


By Andy McFerren

I recently rewatched Sing Street. If you haven’t seen it, and you read this magazine, then I can’t recommend it enough (currently streaming on Netflix). I’m not sure how our diligent movie correspondent, Richie Angel, hasn’t covered this movie yet, but I’m sure he’ll get to it. 


For the uninitiated, Sing Street is about a group of high-school-aged misfits who form a band in Ireland in the 1980s. It’s mostly started because the lead singer, Conor, wants to impress a girl. Conor’s older brother acts as the archetypal wizard, mentoring him along the way by introducing him to the different bands of ‘80s alternative. 

If you had to recreate this movie in Utah, I have the perfect band. That band is Pale Dream. Their debut album, Curse, feels like the real life version of Sing Street, borrowing from the many influences of ‘80s alternative and synth rock, mixed with modern sounds like The 1975. 

Pale Dream

Throw on this album and you’re immediately transported to a different world – one where everyone is slightly haunted. There is a dream-like quality where every song seems like it’s covered in a fog. The edges are blurry, and nothing ever seems to come fully into focus, including lead singer Trey Hoskins’s vocals. It’s the perfect soundtrack to a love story directed by Tim Burton that’s not Edward Scissorhands

If I were in charge of  assigning a (made-up) genre to Pale Dream’s music, I’d give it “sleepy lullaby.” Now, you might ask, aren’t all lullabies sleepy? You might have a point there, but imagine being sung to sleep by Lana Del Rey on one hand, and on the other, imagine being sung to sleep by Mariah Carey or Ariana Grande. Those are very different experiences. Lana Del Rey would fall under the sleepy category, and so would this album. 

To take the sleepy narrative a little further, imagine Matt Healy on a tranquilizer, and as his vision fades, the corners blur, things slow down, and his voice drops. This is never more apparent than on the title track, “Curse.” 


For those who aren’t as depressed as me, there are happier songs on the album, but they are still painted with a tinge of sadness. “Daisies” and “Walt and Penny” are perfect examples of the band’s best imitations of the greatest happy-sad band of all time, The Cure. I don’t want to disparage the band nor imply that the album is unoriginal by making these comparisons. In no way do these similarities discount or cheapen Curse. They do a masterful job, and this album is highly recommended.

Make sure to follow Pale Dream on Instagram. You can listen to “Daisies” below! 


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