【review/rate】dygl / songs of innocence and experience

The boys of Dayglo (stylized DYGL if you’re new here) return with a polished declaration of maturity on their second full length (or third, if you’re a devotee who knows of the DYGL boys’ offshot project ‘Ykiki Beat’), ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’.

Produced in cahoots with Rory Atwell and mastered at the legendary Abbey Road, “Songs..” is a step into territory different than preceding album “Say Goodbye to Memory Den”, but succeeds in giving DYGL a sound that’s above and beyond in polish and pizazz.

01 Hard to love
Opening the album with a sound reminiscent of The Libertines, “Hard to love’ is peppy yet moody, and the melodies in both verse and chorus are instantly memorable.  “It’s so hard to love / It’s so hard to hate”, vocalist Akiyama Nobuki declares with an almost defeated delivery.  I feel you brother.  There’s a cute guitar led outro but it ends a little abruptly!

02 A paper dream
The first of the singles to appear on the tracklist, ‘A paper dream’ glimmers in its Fratellis-esque sheen.  There’s a DIVINE moment at the crux of the song where Yotaro and Yosuke provide backing “papalolo” chants that are just SO. FUCKING. CATCHY.  Truly the highlight of the song. The PV mix omits the song’s outro, where drummer Kamoto provides some rolling bass and the band jams along, a fitting end to an absolute banger of a track.

03 Spit it out
Channeling their inner beach boys with a surf rock number,  “Spit it out” is pretty good, but I kinda feel this one is more of a b-side.  It’s very catchy and musically performed very well, but I don’t feel it has any particularly shining moment (unless you want to count the guitars).

04 Ordinary love
We get our first midtempo near the middle of the record, and it relishes in its lo-fi elements.  Akiyama croons his way into your heart, and there’s a neat flute flourish (or something, I can’t pin the instrument) that comes in during the outro, as well as some super muddled backing vocals that top the song off neatly.

05 Only you
The slowest offering on the album, “Only you” is a dream pop meets jazz affair that, while quite good, does little to keep my attention (regulars of this blog will know my natural aversion to downtempo balladry, I may as well just put a damn disclaimer).  However, if you’re feeling particularly sad or lovelorn, this’ll hit the spot.

06 Bad kicks
Being the first cut of the album, “Bad kicks” is honestly what I expected most of this record to sound like.  It’s a natural progression from “..Memory Den”, but amidst this collection of tracks, sticks out like a sore thumb.  I actually think this works in its favor, as it’s such an in your face track and feels like a great mood reset after the previous two songs.  There’s punk rock chanting, a psych-ish guitar solo, and a bassline that keeps its urgency throughout.  This will always be a staple DYGL song for me.

07 Don’t you wanna dance in this heaven?
Acoustic guitar and rhythmic clapping set the stage for the folk moment on the album, before erupting into a wall of noise that wouldn’t be out of place slotted into Doctor Head’s World Tower (points if you get the reference!).  There’s a short interlude of electronic breakbeats around the four minute mark that segues into the final part of the song that I really love, just for how random it was.  This track definitely gets points for being one of the most unique cuts on the record.

08 As she knows
Turning up the jangle dial just a notch, “As she knows” brings back the catchy melodies present on “Hard to love” and “A paper dream” while staying in a lane all its own.  It’s a little twee, a little

09 Nashville
It’s a pseudo-ballad slash love song that encapsulates maestitia in the midwest?  Nice reverb on those guitars,  and lots of falsetto.  Some power belting near the end too.  Really good song even if it’s not suited to my personal tastes.

10 Behind the sun
DYGL’s second album ends its run with a “Behind the sun”,  a downtempo track that’s backed with an ultra minimal synth beat and some dreamy vocals and guitars.  You can nod off to this one, or play it in the background at your hip mixer, and it wouldn’t sound as out of place as it does on this record!  That’s not a bad thing at all though, as again, DYGL prove their versatility with a song that doesn’t melt into the others.

  1. Hard to love ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. A paper dream ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Spit it out ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Ordinary love ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Only you ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Bad kicks ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Don’t you wanna dance in this heaven? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. As she knows ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Nashville ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Behind the sun ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Must-Listen : A paper dream, Behind the sun, Ordinary love
(A paper dream is definitely one of my favorite songs of the year.  Don’t miss out.)
Skip : N/A!
(this is a cohesive, front to back experience that doesn’t suffer from any missteps.  Sophomore slump? Not for these guys!)

“Songs of Innocence and Experience” is out tomorrow on through Hard Enough.
Pre-save it on Apple Music.

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