Dayglow – Harmony House

A masterful throwback to the cheese of 80s pop-rock.

Label: Very Nice Recordings/AWAL
Released: 21st May 2021

Dayglow’s 2019 debut ‘Fuzzybrain’ has skyrocketed the young star into the indie-pop limelight on a global scale, almost defining an entire subgenre of “bedroom-pop” with songs like ‘Can I Call You Tonight?’ and ‘Hot Rod’. Now, though, Sloan Struble is shifting the moniker in a fresh direction by not losing but, in fact, abandoning the soft touch in order to craft sharper, groovier hits that push his production beyond the restraints of his charming yet confined origins.

This project’s modern enthusiasm combines with an 80s spirit to form deep funk-infused pop tracks like ‘December’ and ‘Crying on the Dancefloor’ – saxophones aplenty serve to accentuate Sloan’s masterfully crafted and implemented melodic arrangements. ‘Close To You’ is the purest example of upbeat pop, which also supplies the centrepiece of the LP, sitting in the middle of the tracklist and culminating the energy levels with a self-fulfilling duet.

This sonic evolution doesn’t prevent the same calming euphoria permeating through smooth pop presentation, revealing jazz and soul influences all in order to establish a new approach for the acclaimed Texan. A variety of moods are explored, and many highlights are offered, but the overarching hopeful and upbeat message arrives at a perfect time; the tone inspires nostalgia for coming of age in an era this artist has not personally experienced, and yet is able to surmise fluently.

So, has this album recreated the magic of its predecessor? Well, yes and no. The energy and musical approach is significantly different, but the quality and consistency of the defining indie-pop vibe is still very much present despite the move away from a bedroom-bound sound. If ‘Fuzzybrain’ was the pinnacle of 2010s bedroom pop, ‘Harmony House’ is a masterful throwback to the cheese of 80s pop-rock that Dayglow somehow makes as culturally relevant and appealing as it’s ever been.

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