It’s a new era for rock n’ roll, and ironically enough, there are fewer rules for the rebellion-born genre than ever before. While there’s a certain framework that artists work within to create specific strains of rock, the guitar-driven intensity this style of expression was always meant to embody remains the same, and Noir Dream is seeking to represent the purest form of the genre in their wholly straightforward new single “Perception Deception” this March. Rather than weighing down this song with a lot of sophisticated muscle-flexing, Noir Dream makes things simple, fierce, and much more intriguing than what a lot of their rivals have been experimenting with lately. 

The post-punk themes in “Perception Deception” are undeniable, but they’re not overstated in the cosmetic disposition of the music. Contrarily, I think the songwriting style is what really tethers Noir Dream’s aesthetical approach to that of the old guard in alternative rock, specifically with regards to how they lead us into a fever pitch. This track relishes its anti-climactic release, but it also yields a tremendous amount of catharsis just in its unrepentant distribution of angst (which is something bands have struggled to do well since the death of grunge in the ‘90s). 

“Perception Deception” features riffs that, while packing plenty of crunch, aren’t overwhelming next to any of the other instrumental components. If anything, the guitar parts are surprisingly conservative for how much kick they’ve got here, which is a testament to the tight mixing of the music and overall attention to detail in the production quality. You can’t overvalue intricacy when it comes to making a leaner, meaner brand of rock n’ roll than the mainstream is, and it’s obvious Noir Dream are in agreement with me on this issue. 

There’s definitely a little more oomph to the lead vocal than I was expecting out of the gate, but it doesn’t reduce the clarity of the lyricism at all – it actually puts an exclamation point on the statements being made here. When you’ve got emotion behind a verse, the audience can pick up on it and connect with the sentiments of the lyrics, and it’s only through the passion that this singer is thrusting at us from behind the mic that we’re really able to gauge how serious Noir Dream is about the narrative they’re constructing in “Perception Deception,” and the complete tracklist of Within, for that matter. 

If you’re a fan of the retro indie rock ethic that produced acts like They Might Be Giants, The White Stripes, and countless other classics, you might be curious to hear what Noir Dream is putting up in their latest single. Within, as an extended play, is pretty artistically expansive and indicative of the style this band is really coming to master right now, and of the six tracks it includes, “Perception Deception” is probably the most identity-based for this group, as well as the most radio-ready. Whether or not there’s a meaningful link between those two things will be decided over time, but for now, this is a track you really shouldn’t miss out on. 

Garth Thomas