The Daysleepers – Drowning in a Sea of Sound

The Daysleepers
Drowning in a Sea of Sound

Everyone should be aware by now that we’re in the midst of a full-blown shoegaze revival. Sure you’ve got records by Serena-Maneesh, Asobi Seksu, A Place to Bury Strangers, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, or any number of other groups that show even the slightest inkling of lineage with My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, or Ride and their brethren. What you may not know is that Clairecords, the label The Daysleepers call home, has been cranking out stellar shoegaze and dream pop releases as far back as 1998. You see, there are always fanatics carrying the torch when no one else gives a damn. Thank goodness for that because they’ve released some excellent stuff over the years. If you haven heard Stella Luna’s Stargazer EP (the band’s lone release that I’m aware of) then you need to get on that ASAP! Take a stroll through the label’s back catalog and you’ll find great stuff from Paik, Malory, Pia Fraus, and many others but I digress…

The Daysleepers are a quartet along these lines from Buffalo, New York not to be confused with the Icelandic group Daysleeper. Having released a couple of sought after EPs, the band now tackles its first full-length, Drowned in a Sea of Sound. Negative points for album art that immediately would make one think of shitty modern emo, but other than that its pretty ace. Take a little Disintegration-era Cure, mix in some Slowdive and you’ve got a recipe for success (at least in my book anyway). Jeff and Elizabeth Kandefer both take turns at vocals doing the whole Neil Halstead/Rachel Goswell thing to nice effect. Some pictures up on the band’s Myspace profile confirm that its sound is definitely derived from an enormous bank of effects pedals. The thing is, The Daysleepers fall on the lighter side of shoegaze. I’d classify it more as dreampop because even Slowdive had some pure whitewash noise every now and then. Drowned in a Sea of Sound is a still a very pretty record even without resorting to the wall of sound that has defined much of the genre.

Drowned in a Sea of Sound has guitars that sound crystalline buoyed along by the Kandefers’ ethereal vocals and a tight rhythm section courtesy of Scott Beckstein and Mario Gimbrone. The album is considerably slicker sounding than most of the other Claire releases and you know that means something considering that most of these groups spend lots of time with their effects and in the studio making sure everything is just perfect. Fortunately for The Daysleepers, its songs are good enough to stand on their own even without the studio wizardry. The band’s influences shine brightly on its sleeves so if you’re looking for something original then you might be somewhat disappointed. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a slice of perfect dream pop, The Daysleepers offer some of the best of its kind.