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Dreamcar’s eponymous debut LP is a sinfully catchy homage to the New Wave era

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Annie Zaleski

Four stars

Dreamcar Dreamcar

On paper, New Wave-leaning supergroup Dreamcar makes perfect sense. The quartet’s instrumentalists—bassist Tony Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young—form the core of No Doubt, a band that has dabbled in ’80s synth-pop. Vocalist Davey Havok, meanwhile, fronts both AFI and the electro-pop band Blaqk Audio and is an avowed fan of the darker crevices of the ’80s British Invasion. It’s unsurprising, then, that Dreamcar’s self-titled debut is a note-perfect, sinfully catchy homage to that era’s alternative music culture. Gothic keyboards, reverb-lathered electric guitars and elastic basslines dominate, conjuring bands like The Cure (kicky highlight “All of the Dead Girls”), Duran Duran (the danceable “The Preferred” with its crooning saxophone) and Depeche Mode (the industrial-tinted “Ever Lonely”). Dreamcar’s holistic view of the decade and its many shades of gray is even more impressive. Goth night dancefloor fillers (“Kill for Candy”) and New Romantic swoons (“The Assailant”) get equal attention, as Havok nimbly navigates between melancholy and ecstasy, drama and playfulness. In the end, the LP feels like the kind of soundtrack John Hughes might have assembled for one of his movies: a well-sequenced mix of familiar sounds and futuristic detours.

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