Album of The Year (of The Week): Dreamcar (Featuring Members of No Doubt and AFI)!

Take the musical 3/4's of No Doubt, add vocalist Davey Havoc of AFI, amp up the '80s nostalgia to 11 and what you get is the debut longplayer from the band Dreamcar. Those already well familiar with Tim Pagnotta's work with Neon Trees will find his period-accurate production integral to the album's ultimate success at recreating 1984 in all its synth-based glory.

Unlike most albums that seek to recreate a full-fledged '80s vibe these days, the participants gathered here were all old enough to enjoy the '80s firsthand, thereby giving the album's retroactive bent a legitimacy you just can't get from Miley Cyrus covering The Mats'  "Androgynous".

Where most albums of this type break down is in the songwriting department because, while its easy to knock out the occasional '80's-style synth pop ditty, doing so for an entire album without falling into a repetitive loop is much, much easier said than done.

In Dreamcar's hands, though, a song like "On The Charts" bristles with a subtle complexity and lyrical nuance that is immensely rewarding on repeat listens. The last album to so accurately capture "the '80s" by getting the little things right was Heavens' 2006 LP Patent Pending, featuring Alkaline Trio's Matt Skiba and Joseph Steinbrick of F-Minus.

The main difference between the two is that Dreamcar's opus aims for the Top 40 fences a tad more aggressively than Heavens did, delivering hook after delicious hook that wouldn't have sounded at all out of place next to A Flock of Seagulls, ABC and Culture Club back when Music Television meant "music television".

When something is done this well, naturally, you hope it finds a large enough audience to warrant being taken more seriously than a mere side band or vanity project. For Heavens, sadly, this was not to be, but in the case of Dreamcar, maybe, just maybe this is a project that will prove to have some legs.

Either way, we won't be pulling this one out of our trusty Z-28's tape deck anytime soon!

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