Essential New Music: The Dream Syndicate’s “The Days Of Wine And Roses”


More menacing and Velvets-influenced than its jangly Paisley Underground brethren, the Dream Syndicate was born seemingly fully formed, creating a debut masterpiece—1982’s The Days Of Wine And Roses—that’s been sorely out of print since 2001, but has now been remastered and reissued. From the opening notes of “Tell Me When It’s Over,” the interplay between guitarist/vocalist Steve Wynn, lead guitarist Karl Precoda, drummer Dennis Duck and bassist Kendra Smith is incendiary and hypnotic, particularly on the scorching “That’s What You Always Say” and the thrilling, epic title track. The Days Of Wine And Roses is essential to any understanding of the college-rock era and represents a major gap in any record collection from which it’s missing.

The reissue adds six rough-edged rehearsal tunes, including two (“Still Holding On To You,” “Armed With An Empty Gun”) that ended up on 1984’s Medicine Show follow-up. Interesting and worthwhile from an archival perspective, they’re skippable because they take time away from listening to The Days Of Wine And Roses proper.

—Matt Hickey