“Memories” is dreamy, richly layered, and tasteful without burdening itself too much about reinventing the wheel. Rejoice, ye indie-pop faithful.
Indie pop is evergreen, and I think it’s because of the catch-all utility of its songs. If music is life, and songs are smaller moments in that life, then indie-pop elements—major-sevenths, reverb plug-ins, delay pedals, summer references—are streetlights that underscore these moments, casting them in a perpetual Instagram haze of pretty.
And, again, these moments are legion: love lost, love found, love misplaced, love regained. But no matter the emotion or occasion, listening to indie pop always vaguely feels like licking ice cream. I mean, regardless of the inherent “smallness” of the streetlights—its shortage or preponderance—good indie pop will always encourage us to look at the bigger world.
Which is a very roundabout way, I admit, of talking about Dustybuns’ new single and how it’s an ice-cream-lick of a tune. “Memories,” like most material written in the past twelve months of this insanity, is an appeal to be transported to a fantasy elsewhere that isn’t the stuff of pixie forests or alien lifeforms.
Here, that fantasy elsewhere is The Old Life: guards down, unrestricted, carefree.
“It’s about giving yourself time to breathe. It’s about a typical getaway trip to the beach with friends, just enjoying yourselves and forgetting about your day-to-day struggles,” Dustybuns mastermind Joseph Charles Baltazar expounds. In its first incarnation, he says, it was a ukulele throwaway, “a happy short song” that he played to his sister to make her laugh, but is now given new life as guitar-synth candy.
“After pitching to release this song just in time for [the] summer, I rerecorded my vocals, we added a few things here and there, and now I think it sounds much better,” the songwriter modestly adds.
While it may appear like run-of-the-mill escapist fare, “Memories” acknowledges the primacy of tales passed on from one (tuneful) mouth to the next. “Memories are great for storytelling / Make sure to make some good ones while you can,” Baltazar sings in recognition of the magic of the personal narrative: how, in the end, photographs, badly taken video, and, in this instance, wavelike crashes of profound musical beauty, are all we’re going to be left with. And that’s okay.
“Memories” is dreamy, richly layered, and tasteful without burdening itself too much about reinventing the wheel. Fans of Dayglow, boy pablo, Wallows, and bird. will have something to look forward to when we hear the rest of Dustybuns’ in-progress full-length projected for a late-2021 release.
But for now, chew on this. Or better yet, lick it.