Dream Hydra is a quintet from LA whose album Radiant is a rewarding mix between prog rock and pop, with soaring guitar melodies and vocal harmonies working together in a collection of songs about love in a time of apocalypse. It’s rare to find so many different qualities in one group: Dream Hydra have a unique sound that acknowledges its musical inspirations whilst taking off in new directions.
Lethal Affinity is a great opening track, since it showcases the band’s major strengths – amazing harmonic vocals, even at a high tempo, with accomplished instrumentation. It’s an upbeat look at lost love. The album continues in a rich vein with Checkmate, a quirky, joyous song with a spiky, offbeat melody and a clever use of keyboard to vary the pace. It’s also one of the catchiest tunes on the album.
In The Ether takes a different tone and introduces a gently psychedelic flavour with a distinctly 60s twist, though the chorus is a lift into the exuberant. It has a touch of early Pink Floyd about it, and anyone with a passion for the music of the era will love this one.
Let Go establishes another recurring motif – an apocalyptic and epic sound. It’s rockier and more dramatic than its predecessors, with strong electric guitars and bass, and belting vocals to match. It’s a theme returned to in a more light-hearted way in Burns Up, a fun song with a great guitar riff about the destruction of the planet, but the cosmic proportions are revisited in End of Time, which builds up to an operatic scale with imagination that recalls Queen. For a gentler song, check out The Rain, an uplifting number that washes over you with quieter moments of plucked guitar bleeding into a strong bass chorus.
Another track that’s likely to play in your head after you hear the album is Never Gonna Stop, which is a rockier
number offset with some high-pitched vocals part-way through. Radiant starts to round out with Numb, which has a reggae quality that sits unexpectedly comfortably along with the rest of the songs. Four Prayers offers an intriguing balance between acoustic and electric guitar and is a thoughtful assessment of the things we ask of others the most. The album comes to a close with beautiful Wake Up, which has a spectral, dream-like, fairytale quality, told through gorgeous vocal harmonies, and a flourish of electric guitars to remind the listener of the band’s rock influences.
Dream Hydra establish themselves as a group offering unique qualities. Radiant showcases their songwriting skill, thoughtful lyrics, exhilirating harmonies and accomplished musicality. With thirteen tracks on the album, there’s plenty to choose from and everyone will have their own favourites. Having loved the epic yet reflective quality of Radiant, we’re excited to see where they go next.