The Smallest Light

Written by: TL on 27/02/2015 16:00:48

You know how some big bands like to perform with a gazillion amps stacked up into a huge wall behind them? What you imagine such a wall of amplification to sound like seems to be the sound Tennessee quartet Daisyhead have gone for on their debut album "The Smallest Light", which comes out next week. The album figures to expand on the attention the young band first picked up when they appeared on a split with Have Mercy last year. On it immersive, reverberating distortion is the order of the day, rollicking towards you at a primarily tide-like mid-tempo and crashing around you like sizeable waves on a windy beach day.

We're extremely close to Balance And Composure-territory in terms of sound on "The Smallest Light", yet while Daisyhead does align with the recent American underground trend of distortion-heavy, grungy/floaty rock, the hints of sharpness and raspiness in the lead vocals lend them a similarity to bands like Seahaven or Citizen, and indeed, while the guitar side of their sound is the most pronounced, the singing has a more melodious and dynamic part to play than the otherwise understated approach similar bands have taken on albums in recent years. It feels like the walls of guitar noise allow just enough space for the expressive bits of vocal work to litter solid hooks on a majority of the tracks, particularly on the album's first half. At no point do you feel like the songs take on obvious, mainstream-friendly structures, yet you regularly come away from listening, with a tune or three to hum out idly for the next few days.

On the first half of the record, after opener "Defenselessness" has gotten things started with a signature kick-off riff to remember, "Neck" and "Lead" both make noteworthy impressions, with drawn-out lyrical melodies like "Are you happy now that you're goooone?" figuring to command some dedicated singalongs in the live setting. After a post-rock-ish cinematic interlude in form of the instrumental "The Halt", the second half of the record then brings about the quite Seahaven-ish title track, before "Lost Her" gears up the pace in a welcome manner. Allowing a sense of urgency to cast rays over a sound that has otherwise been somewhat wallowing in feel up to here, the track has perhaps the album's most engaging hook in form of the cried out "Settle down! Settle down! You've done this before", which gains extra potency from how the guitars echo the vocal melody in the first chorus.

Following "Lost Her", "Take" keeps a similarly heightened tempo, but with a slightly less impactful melody, and then "East Bend" mellows things down to an almost Wonder Years-ish introspective bit. As the song gives way to the final two tracks however, "The Smallest Light"'s homogeneity can start to wear on the listener a bit, and the familiar feeling of the best songs having been placed up front starts to sneak in. However, it is a record whose overall quality stems mainly from having very little weak material, more than from having those two or three tracks that completely put you on your ass. That being said, Daisyhead's debut is a rewarding listen with an overall personality that's strong enough to be remembered and to feel engaging upon returns to the album, and it should be a must-listen particularly for fans who have been intrigued by the hype around Balance And Composure and the likes, yet wouldn't have minded some songs that are slightly more catchy.

Download: Lost Her, Neck, Lead, Defenselessness
For The Fans Of: Balance And Composure, Make Do And Mend, Seahaven, Citizen
Listen: facebook.com/daisyheadtn

Release date 03.03.2015
No Sleep Records

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