Swathes of tremolo bounce back and forth on the instantly trippy timbre of Dylan’s guitar work for his latest single, ‘If I Want You To’, taken from the upcoming album, Peripheral Drift Illusion. Having solidly confirmed himself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of up and coming alternative artists, Dylan boasts a plethora of instrumental skills to his name which he has put to best use on the new single that sees him diverge from the jovial, upbeat jaunt that was his debut effort, ‘Get Beyond’.
Instead, Dylan drags listeners to much darker ground with the help of an unsettling guitar line that teeters on the edge, only heightening the sonic tension, and harrowing lyrics that simply become more worrying the more you analyse them. It’s like the door in a horror film that you keep don’t want the protagonist to go through, but they do anyway; there seems an eternity of suspense until that door is finally opened and all hell is let loose.
Luckily for us, this is the case with ‘If I Want You To’ and although it takes a good four minutes or so to get going, what lies waiting for listeners at the end is worth waiting for. The discomfort provided by the monotony of the riff and Dylan’s disturbing falsetto vocals is eventually shattered by a brick wall of expertly crafted noise. It’s as though Dylan fell on his pedal board during this part of the recording, hitting every button there is, resulting in a chaotic onslaught of fuzz-fuelled guitar, pulsating drums and effects as thick as honey. But what comes out of this evidently deliberate piece of composition is undoubtedly sweet, but bittersweet at that with the taste left by the lyrics.
‘If I Want You To’ ponders upon power dynamics in a clearly unstable relationship of uncertain, abnormal intimacy, as John sings ‘you crawl on your knees, I’m here to please… you’ll take a bruise, if I want you to’. As mentioned, Dylan matches the troubling nature of his lyrics within the instrumentation to form a truly engaging listen that is both uncomfortable, in terms of subject content, yet comforting in its ambitious experimentation and quality production. We’ve already seen two highly contrasting styles to this exciting ‘dream-pop’ songwriter, so it will be intriguing to see where else he can take us with such an arsenal of musical prowess at his disposal.
Watch the creation video for If I Want You below: