Review Summary: An inviting and familiar sophomore slump.
A band's second release is often what makes or breaks their critical reception. After bringing promise with a solid debut, new artists are pressured to prove themselves by trumping their first effort and showing that their success wasn’t some random stroke of luck. It’s a daunting task and despite the fact that this isn’t singer/songwriter Shayley Bourget’s first musical rodeo, his newest band, Dayshell, are not exempt from this struggle. With the buzz and eclecticism that the band’s debut, self-titled record had garnered--along with Shayley’s history with his previous band Of Mice & Men-- post-hardcore outfit Dayshell had a lot to live up to.
In comes the band’s newest release, Nexus
, an album that was not only fronted with the loss of a key member, drummer Raul Martinez, but also featured a shift in record labels after about a year of silence from the band. Dayshell had a lot against them going into this record. Despite their tribulations, they ultimately emerged with a cohesive project that recaptures everything that made their last album stellar. That’s well and good, but it’s about all this album does.
opens up on a strong note with the track ‘Car Sick’ a song that fruitfully represents what Dayshell is about. With a catchy hook, prominent bass tone, and solid, soaring vocals this song is a strong impression on the listener of the quality of the band’s sound. After this song we’re presented with a few tracks that try to do something similar, which ends up being to the album’s dismay.
It’s apt to note that the first five tracks on Nexus
all begin the same way: with a lead synth melody. In fact, a good amount of these tracks are all strikingly similar to themselves in structure and design. They all have hooks that sound alike with heavy, punching guitars and riffs. The only song of the first five in the tracklist that could be exempt from this is the groovy and somber ‘A New Man’ whose fleeting verses and chorus save it from feeling too familiar.
The first instance where the album really starts to shake things up is on the track ‘FTNW,’ an endearing song filled with catchy chants, and strong bass & lead guitar presence. It makes for a nice anthem track. Hearing Shayley cheer “Flip off the new world, baby!” is charming and inviting. The song ‘Spit in the Face’ is another strong moment on the record. It’s a track that bleeds with aggression from every one of its components. With Shayley’s powerful screams the song presents itself with forceful aplomb. The next instance where things start to variate is on the track ‘Rush Hour,’ a song that features mellifluous guitar melodies and an ethereal vocal performance that is a much needed change of pace for the album.
Aside from those key highlights, a lot of these songs suffer from sounding too much like themselves and songs you’d find on Dayshell’s previous release. The track ‘Terrified’ almost seems like a ‘Spit in the Face Pt.2,’ in example. There are just too many moments where ideas start to run dry on the record and keep Nexus
from being a full progression in Dayshell’s discography.
That doesn’t mean the songs that sound similar to each other are bad by any means. In fact, what helps this album stay afloat is the consistency and quality of its music. While a lot of this album may feel like treading familiar territory, it is presented with stellar vocals, good production, solid lyrics, and involvement from all of its instrumentation. There is a lot of quality content here and that works well to keep Nexus from feeling like a bore.
can be pen-ultimately described as a collection of similar songs saved by a some variation, stellar vocals, and high quality. While it’s not a regression from Dayshell’s previous venture, it doesn’t show the change and distinction needed to solidify the band's place in the music industry. Sophomore slump or not, Nexus
is an enjoyable listen and is one that shows that Dayshell still has potential dormant within them.