First let me preface this review by talking a little bit about Pensacola. I was stationed there for awhile, and it’s not one of those cities that you think about when you think of Florida. Usually people go to Orlando, Tampa, Miami, or Jacksonville. Yet this city is a jewel, and I met some of the most creative people in my life at that city.
It was all by accident. There was this chief I worked for, who was a ladies man, and was hooking up with girls left and right. Everybody who worked for him admired him, so we all tried to emulate him. He told us to dress nice, tell good jokes, get her number, and he left out other key important pieces of information–mainly don’t go to the strip club to try to get laid. Which is exactly what I did. I blew nearly $600 at Sammy’s, and when I found out that it wasn’t a magical place to get laid (“We’re strippers, not prostitutes,” a phrase I heard a lot), I decided to explore the city. That’s where I found the art scene and all the creative people of Pensacola. Every night began as a quest to get laid, only to be sidetracked by more interesting creative people.
Listening to this album for me, is just further clarification that the music scene in Pensacola, is as good as I remembered (as well as someone who was constantly drunk could remember). Let’s start with the opening track, Play in the Rain if there was any better opener to a great album, then I’ve probably never heard it. Let’s take the sample, a car passing by you on a rainy day. Immediately just by that little slice ambient noise, you already know you’re outside in the rain. It’s such a subtle little touch; kind of like when you’re reading a book, and the author provides a metaphor that you immediately understand. Then for Day Gold to incorporate that into a major part of his sound, is so creative, so intelligent, that it leaves you flabbergasted as to how someone can be so creative.
Every piece of this song (as well as this album) is so well constructed, every single element of this track from the vocals, the guitar, and even the samples are so well produced. There’s nothing that’s left up to chance, and that’s not taken into consideration. From the effects on the vocals, to the tone of the guitar–both when it strums chords, and plucks away sweet melodies. In any other song, say the production of the vocals would be the main driving point, since it’s so uniquely produced. But on this track, everything is well produced, and it’s not overwhelming or showing off. Rather everything is produced in a certain way to either convey: A. the rain, or B. that you hang on to your youthfulness and sense of wonder. Even the end guitar part, with the rain ambience in the background, on any other track it would be a real sad song. Yet with the energy and ambience of the rest of the track, it sounds less of a brooding melancholy that most songs with rain samples have. Rather it sounds like a night in with friends on a rainy day, and after a night drinking when everybody is all cuddled up someone picks up the guitar and plays a soulful tune.
This celebratory tone of this track carries through the rest of the album. By singing about the beach, being out in the sun, and living life to the fullest. But what separates Day Gold from, from say Jimmy Buffet, is how talented he is at creating a soundscape that reflects what he’s singing about. So when we take Life is an Ocean which immediately starts off with that softened reverbed out guitar, that strums ever so gently, playing this soothing melody–it’s pure relaxation. If you were to isolate that guitar, and ask someone where they’d picture themselves at, it would be impossible not to say the beach. Maybe it’s because of the wet reverb of surfer music, underwater video game music, or wherever–it’s in our collective unconscious. It’s kind of what we expect ocean music to sound like. Then when we go to the warm fuzzy guitar lead, rather than being abrasive, it’s more of a cool chilled out kind of feel. Kind of like when you’re 3 margaritas in, laying in a hotub, and you slowly start to feel the alcohol spread through your body. Then when we finally get to the vocals, which by themselves is incredibly good, yet with the production that Day Gold applies, it causes the vocals to sound more expansive. That expansiveness gives it this psychedelic edge to it, and as mentioned before, psychedelia works best as a sense of expanded sense of consciousness. So if we combine all the elements that the production provides: that you’re at the beach, you’re chilled out, and now you’re so relaxed that you’ve reached a point of enlightenment. I mean how much more can a track do for you?
Then when we get to Your Heart is a Clock the beginning guitar that swells up in volume, like when an alarm clock goes off, and when you wake up you finally realize it’s time for work. Although the guitar isn’t that abrasive, it has that forward sense of momentum that thrusts the rest of the song into action. Plus the lyrical content–that we’re all going to die, so we might as well enjoy life while we still can–needs that forward momentum for the track to work. To that effect it does. The drums and fuzzy guitar provides this nice groove, that gives credibility to the lyrics. Because if you’re going to sing a song about living life to it’s fullest, it better sound like you’re living life to your fullest. This is the kind of track, that if you were walking down the street and put on your earbuds, you’d immediately be walking with a swagger–even if you didn’t know what the song was about. It just has that kind of energy.
So next up is Rock Me to Sleep with it’s pitch perfect chord progression, and vocals that sound like a lullaby. It already lives up to it’s name. But it’s what happens next, that changes this from a well written song, to really good rock music. That is the lead guitar. Hearing the chord progression change to this unresolved melody, that’s desperate for a resolution, only for the drums to kick in, brings about this huge amount of anticipation. And like any good showman, Day Gold knows that the build up is just as good as the delivery. Then the lead guitar comes through like a whirlwind, and it’s not the heavy metal speed kind of shredding, that loses all emotion through it being so technical–no, this guitar has got soul. You feel this surge of emotion as this phased out guitar plays out this cool solo. And when I say cool, I mean the cool 90’s kind of guitar solos, back when people wore weird shit, and hung out in coffee houses. That kind of gen X coolness, that millennials associate as being grungy, when in fact it was people doing their own thing, and being sincere. Now I know it’s subjective to say a guitar solo is cool; but if there was anybody out there trying to quantify the coolness of guitar solos, this would be a good place to start.
Finally we end with Give Me the Sun Forever with this reverbed out drum beat that’s just as in your face as the fuzzy guitar tone we all love (because if you don’t like that guitar tone you are insane). With the guitar strumming in the background, and the overall carefree atmosphere this song produces, it’s the kind of track that would be played out when watching the sunset on a beach. You know when you’re at the beach with all your friends, got a bonfire started, and a cooler full of beer–and you sit there looking at the sunset, knowing that it doesn’t get much better than this.
Which is a great way to end the album review. Indie rock albums don’t get much better than this album, and for anybody who loves going to the beach (which is everybody, unless you’re all lying on your tinder profiles) then this is the album for you. For me, it’s a solidification that the artists, and musicians that I met in Pensacola were the real deal. If I were to tell anybody a story of my brief time stationed there, I’d tell them to listen to this album first, and then they’d understand why Pensacola is such a great place to live at.
With the positive vibes, and the great soundtrack for a day out in the sun, this album gets my full recc. Please if you are a human, and like listening to music, check this guy out–you are sure to be amazed.