Given the name, there’s no prizes for guessing which city The Dreaming Spires hail from. For anyone local to Oxford, a mention of the Bennett brothers will undoubtedly conjure up images of Truck Festival, their brain child which later expanded to include Wood Festival, Truck America and OX4. However, with their recently opened Truck Store (one of Oxfordshire’s few independent record stores) and their current musical formation of The Dreaming Spires, Robin and Joe are once again in the Oxford spotlight.
It’s fair to say it’s not clear if they ever really left, as both Robin and Joe have had stints in both Goldrush and Danny & The Champions of The World, and those paying attention may have also noticed that Robin appeared with Stornoway at this year’s Glastonbury. More recently they garnered acclaim for their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours as the closing set to Truck, combined with a plethora of guest appearances.
Backed by Loz Colbert of Ride on drums, the Dreaming Spires latest single Everything All The Time has received airplay from the likes of Steve Lamaq and Bob Harris. It is fuelled by a pop-rock sound, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it lacks the Americana ring that’s perhaps expected. B side In Our Lifetime drifts slightly more towards this sound though it never quite reaches the peak it should, the strings drawing you in, but vocals leaving you unfulfilled.
Plenty of other publications have already alluded to The Dreaming Spires similarities to Big Star, and it’s fair to say this is accurate. If easy listening pop-rock that aspires to be Americana is your kind of thing, then The Dreaming Spires are the band for you. The group have a sound which would have blended into the backdrop of the late 90’s music scene with relative success, in the sense that there’s a real ability to reminisce for yesteryear whilst listening.
The Dreaming Spires should probably be placed somewhere between Cast and Dodgy in your collection (based on sound rather than the alphabet). In short, whilst it’s refreshing to have a band move away from the ever abundant synth sound of present, in doing so The Dreaming Spires serve less to create something new, and more to successfully recreate the old.