Somewhere on the West Coast: a bungalow in the hills; the city’s skyline illuminated against the twilight. In the distance, the dark and the desert landscape coalesce into one another; it’s in the warm shadows that Los Angeles troubadours Gun Outfit outline their vision of life and death in the city and in the desert
From the tight opener of “Gotta Wanna,” Dream All Over is an album whose narrative succinctly and thoroughly engages listeners, thrusting them in the heart of that western landscape. The album moves and shakes with a certain feel of classic rock ‘n roll. That timeless nature may or may not relate to the punk aesthetic that primary songwriters Carrie Keith and Dylan Sharp let loose over the sharp twang of their arrangements.
There is no shortage to the exotic on this title. Rave-up “Matters to a Head” could as easily have been cut as a shit-kicking western swing number, though instead Sharp’s vocals skirt the wryness of alt-country, and electric sitars provide fills that otherwise might be occupied by fiddle. It’s a fascinating and an unusual manner of approaching a rock tune, and that approach shows up again with the weird Celtic rock feel of “Worldly Way.” It’s not drone music, nor is it Celtic music. Nor is it pure jangle pop, but it sure is a fine amalgamation of the better components of all three.
Dream All Over consists of concise, pointed songs that don’t waste their time but don’t rush through the minutes either. On “Pass On Through,” the band surely takes its time to establish atmosphere as Carrie Keith’s lead guitar tells a sort of film noir story. It’s a lonely sound, and by the time the fantastic hook of “Gonna dream all over” arrives, it’s believable and admirable and also mired by the weight of smog and gravity.
And then, it’s over as soon as it began. It’s not a perfect collection by any stretch: the songs road wearied, they’re self-aware, and at the same time they carry a strange promise of hope. Maybe it’s the idiosyncratic amalgamation of sounds, maybe the closing notes of Carrie Keith and Dylan Sharp’s endearing and wistful vocals. In any instance, it works all over Dream All Over, and keeps us looking west towards that setting Pacific sun.