“The Art of Remembering,” the newest full-length outing from Day & Dream, is an organic, brisk listen, with the beats more pronounced, more front-and-center, as though the group is desperate to recreate (and, thus, reclaim) the immediacy of the live show.
Asheville, North Carolina indie mainstays Day & Dream released today “The Art of Remembering”. The collection is their second full-length outing, and also their first under Manila-based indie banner Lilystars Records. Coming on the heels of three advance singles released over the past year (“Rabbit Hole,” “Cabin Fever,” “Separation Anxiety”), the record sees singer-keyboardist Abby Amaya and guitarist Peter Frizzante churn yet more of their beloved hybrid of lo-fi, shoegaze, and dream pop, but with a more propulsive energy this time around.
Though critics generally ascribe an easygoing wistfulness to the band’s music—a local pundit called their earlier tunes “anthems of introspection”—the duo describe their forthcoming record as being “darker” than their debut, owing to the naturally dusky nature of reminiscence. “It’s harder to remember things as we age, so hopefully, we keep the most important memories close to us,” they explain.
Though evocative of bands as disparate as Real Estate, Broken Social Scene, Alvvays, Beach Fossils, Radio Dept., and Japanese Breakfast, Day & Dream’s predilection towards reverb-drenched sonics goes beyond genre or aesthetic. In the able hands of Amaya and Frizzante—not to mention guest bassists Matt Tobia, Daniel Hyman, and Erik Jan, as well as session drummers Matt Hender and Jake Cavinder—music serves a gamut of purposes beyond the scale: balm for the weary soul; reprieve in a life peppered with strife; and catalogue of a marriage both creative and literal.
Leading the charge are two key tracks: the driving shoegazer “Security Blanket,” an ode to comforting totems that pacify us during our “most irrational fears”; and the Stereolab-esque jangle-pop gem “It’s All Over Now,” a piece-within-a-piece-within-a-piece that references both the Rolling Stones single (from 1964’s 12 x 5) and the trippy Shag illustration that shares its name.
“It’s about living in these uncertain times and choosing to laugh and dance, rather than cry about the end of the world,” the duo say of the latter tune, though they may as well be speaking of the entirety of the album.
Day & Dream is, indeed, a cross-cultural dance rooted in stark dualities: forged in New York City, solidified in Asheville; entrenched in California coastal pop, ensconced in postpunk; swathed in dream-like atmospherics, propelled by fuzz and jazz. Their very name, in fact, is a mirrored contradiction: a wife-and-husband union that’s both warring and complementary, Amaya serves as the nocturnal foil to Frizzante’s sun-bred, day-bound energy; she also adds a dimension of conscientiousness to the proceedings, being Filipino. Ultimately, however, either of them is the other’s tamer and amplifier.
Making The Art of Remembering in lockdown, the band says, was “extremely challenging and crazy,” considering how they had to operate without the (in-person or in-studio) shorthand they have developed between close collaborators. “We sort of just stayed back and wanted to see how everything in the world was unraveling,” they add, before revealing a personal tragedy that turned their already-upturned lives into further orbit: the death of Peter’s father.
For those already accustomed to the Day & Dream experience, Remembering is not necessarily a thematic about-face, though it does offer a refreshing manic vigor (a quality which peaks in “Up All Night”). It is an organic, brisk listen, with the beats more pronounced, more front-and-center, as though the group is desperate to recreate (and, thus, reclaim) the immediacy of the live show.
The world is not quite there yet, but through this expertly recorded collection—mostly tracked from home studios in Asheville and Atlanta, and afterwards mixed by Chrisanthony Vinzons in Manila—listeners will surely be treated to the next best thing.