Skinny Pelembe
Dreaming Is Now Dead



Dreaming is Dead Now is a curious release from Skinny Pelembe, a South African born, Doncaster raised artist channelling eclectic musical influences to offer a meditation on the state of the nation. The album purports to celebrate “flawed, post recession Britain”, and certainly the track titles are evocative and political, calling on the UK’s history of manufacturing and consumerism (‘Gonna Buy a Car Today’), racism (‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’), stiff upper-lip aristocracy (‘Ten Four, Good Friend’), bawdy sexual comedy (‘Spit/Swallow’) and inherited wealth (‘Blood Relations’) to paint a picture of a nation floundering in the shadows of its imperial history.

There’s a clever, if bizarre, mash up of musical influences here – rock pop meets futuristic electronica on the title track, while ‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’ has a kind of ska-inflected sound that calls on the race history the song’s title evokes. And the whole record is washed in a heavy dose of reverb. I like the effect this has, particularly on ‘Spit/Swallow’ where the bouncy baselines mellow into something more fluid after the opening bars – a kind of dreamy funk nostalgia that has an occasional Eurythmics flavour, perhaps because of the Annie Lennox quality of the digitally enhanced vocals. I’m also a fan of the reggae sound that creeps up on ‘I’ll Be on Your Mind’ midway through the record.

So there’s plenty to admire in the concept and composition. The problem, if there is one, is that the album doesn’t really deliver on the political critique that the song titles promise. We’re immersed in a sense of something vaguely British, sure, and though Pelembe makes us feel that Britishness, he doesn’t ultimately give us anything new to consider.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.

If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.