Review Summary: A guilty pleasure, but only if you have a guilty conscience.
Hindsight might be 20/20, but overly indulging in retrospection can be a cruel mistress to the present. The more I talk to artists in the ‘core’ community about the state of non-mainstream fandom, the more I become disillusioned with it all. If we’re being honest, the sheer volume of music (“good” or otherwise) available instantly these days is mind-boggling. Music lovers the world over can, at the tap of a keyboard and click of a button, effortlessly sample countless songs.
And yet, so many fans of one genre or band find a shocking amount of time in their day to trash talk music that they don’t enjoy rather than look for what they do, as if seeking an apology for the offense their ears were subjected to.
This release is anything but Dayseeker’s apology. Although longtime fans might mourn the missed opportunity for another devastating breakdown or two, Sleeptalk
opts for a little less chugging in favor of a much more rounded whole. Rather than overindulge in some admittedly sick riffs or catchy beats, Dayseeker pull from a seriously expanded bag of tricks.
“Crooked Soul” teases an infectious riff around an assault of sumerian proportions, complemented by Dayseeker’s trademark vocal style. Rory Rodriguez’s vocal performance punctuates the album, virtuosic enough to give even Johnny Craig a run for his macbooks. That’s not to say the rest of the band isn’t pulling their weight, however. Sleeptalk
merely adopts a more restrained approach, refusing to sacrifice cohesion and balance for instrumental technicality or heaviness, though tracks like “The Color Black” absolutely prove they’re still capable of delivering some heavy blows.
Overall, the utter disregard for genre boundaries is what really sets Sleeptalk
apart. “Gates of Ivory” takes aim at holier-than-thou hypocrites, with soaring cherubic vocals to accompany some of the heaviest moments on the entire album. Dayseeker’s latest album pulls influences from the predictable metal subgenre classics to 80s’ revival to outright power ballads, and mostly gets away with it without so much as a hiccup. Nowhere does this departure from their metalcore roots feel forced or distasteful; rather, Sleeptalk
sounds exactly like the album Dayseeker have always wanted to make.
treads on familiar ground, but with tenderness that surprisingly complements the thematic heaviness of the album. Dayseeker ruminate on one raw, bitter reality of the human condition after another while carrying a faint but resolute ember of hope. If every cynic is a broken optimist, Sleeptalk
rings exhausted, but far from resigned.
On this release, we see Dayseeker fully matured in their cohesion and utterly unafraid of weaponizing top-40 song catchiness to show off their skills in a swing for the fences on this new emergent style of pop-influenced whatever–core music.
For all that the eponymous single despondently croons “the worst is yet to come,” Dayseeker’s best to date might have just arrived. By proudly borrowing from a vibrant spectrum of influences, Sleeptalk
makes a compelling case for itself.