Playing local and regional shows pretty steadily and releasing new DIY discs every so often, Satellite Dream has been orbiting the Cowtown scene for the past several years, occasionally drawing decent-sized crowds but seemingly never landing hard enough to generate any buzz.
The band’s most recent effort, Smashing Clouds, probably won’t change that. The EP has potential, manifest in all of the sloppy grit and gusto that made grunge such a popular phase. But the Satellite boys are not Pearl Jam/Nirvana/ Soundgarden clones. With echoes of Urge Overkill, Matthew Sweet, and other, more melodic rockers and semi-punks, Clouds proves that the Dream is much more interested in hewing to a vision than angling for commercial-radio airplay.
The opening cut is called “Electric Dawn,” and it sounds exactly like that: As a flat, distorted rhythm tumbles forward, guitars jangle and the two lead singers’ shaky voices struggle, in vain, to free themselves from the impasto. Some interesting, contrapuntual backing vocals, however, add a subtle layer of underground adventurousness to what is otherwise some famous, successful indie band’s B-side. The following cut, with its whimsical, needle-thin, Modest Mouse-esque guitar line, is a left turn but one that leads only to another jolt, a brooding and introspective rough mix with echoes of Candlebox. All of this isn’t to say that there aren’t some dirty, sludgy moments — ‘cause there are — but as both a valentine to and rejection of grunge, Smashing Clouds is true to Satellite Dream’s dream.-Joshua Loewen