After shamelessly falling in love with “Can I Call You Tonight” after hearing it a thousand times on TikTok last summer, Dayglow’s debut album Blurry brain became my quarantine soundtrack. When the world was depressing, I turned to happy music, and nothing served me better than Blurry brainis lively and bright indie pop. Hearing these songs now fills me with nostalgia for the times I drove through the Arizona desert with my sister because we had nothing better to do with our time. Dayglow’s music was our escape. Needless to say, I was extremely jealous when I found out that because I was a freshman I barely missed Dayglow coming to Cornell.
Now, as we begin a new chapter in our lives with a return to normalcy on the way, Dayglow is back with their second album: House of Harmony. If you liked Blurry brain, you will love this album too!
House of Harmony began as the soundtrack for a fictional sitcom. Sloan Struble, the man behind the music / daylight, took inspiration from the soft rock of the late ’70s and early’ 80s, as well as the old TV show Cheers. From synths to lyrics, the whole album is imbued with the welcoming and nostalgic vibe of an old sitcom. The album is about change, a theme exemplified by the song “December,” Struble’s favorite song from the album. The song reads like one of these classic good times to learn on a sitcom. “So, my friend, you just remember that every year has its month of December,” he sings, a line borrowed from his great-grandmother’s favorite poetry collection. He continues, “There will be days when you don’t feel like you, but the seasons do, they change! This chorus is without a doubt my favorite lyrical moment on the album and a perfect tip that will stay with me.
Sonically, although different from the scintillating, anthemic pop of Blurry brain, House of Harmony still sounds like the Dayglow we know and love. As Blurry brain, Struble did the whole album alone in his bedroom. Even though he rose to fame from his first album, he still composes his music on his own, which I really enjoy as a fan. This time around, the songs are more piano-oriented and often bouncy, with a distinct ’80s influence throughout. There’s also a fun Easter Egg to look for throughout the album: The melody defined by the opening track “Something” can be found in one form or another on every track on the album. Yes House of Harmony is the soundtrack to a sitcom, so “Something” is most likely the main theme.
I believe there is a song for everyone on House of Harmony. It starts with a series of indie pop bangers – I know I’ll be dancing to “Medicine” and “Balcony” all summer long. I have also jammed on the first single from the album “Close to You” since January and I think any fan of pop music would love the addicting beat of the song. The album’s dramatic centerpiece, “Crying on the Dancefloor”, is a glamorous rock song straight out of the 80s.
The second half of the album is more ballad oriented with slower and more personal songs. If you liked Rex Orange County’s “Pluto Projector”, you’ll enjoy the last two tracks, “Strangers” and “Like Ivy,” which blend together harmoniously to form a sentimental and nostalgic close to the album. Their beautiful dark melodies and orchestral production immediately reminded me of “Pluto Projector”.
Personally, I love good pop songs, so my favorite songs should be “Medicine” and “Close to You”. However, the album is certainly not perfect. My least favorite song has to be “Something”, because I find the bass pattern to be squeaky and jarring with the rest of the song. Also, I find that some instruments, melodies and samples are a bit out of place (why is there a random airhorn?). I will skip it in the future.
Overall, this is a great album to check out for any indie pop fan. The happy, vibrant vibes are perfect for summer, and there are plenty of songs for your road trip playlist. The timing of this album could not have been better: it arrives just at the beginning of the summer, our first months of return to an almost normal life. You can broadcast House of Harmony everywhere on May 21, and you can also see Dayglow live at the House of Harmony tour later this year.
Lauren Douglass is a freshman at the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected]