Domestic Terminal
I Could See Midnight Sky


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
March 20th, 2021 | 36 replies


Release Date: 10/15/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And this taste of heaven would never be here again

One of my favorite ways to experience music is by listening to it in various settings. Music sounds different to me in the midst of a frigid snowstorm than it does on a hot summer day, and to every season (turn, turn), there is an album that expresses it perfectly. Regardless of what season it is though, I always seem to do my best and deepest thinking after the sun fades behind the trees. There's something about the darkness - the way it is illuminated by the stars and distant city lights - that draws out the thoughts which really matter. I Could See Midnight Sky is an album for those precious moments: a 90s-influenced, shoegaze-tinged emo rock piece that shimmers as elegantly as moonlight hitting the surface of a pond.

To a large extent, Domestic Terminal plays to many of the standard emo/shoegaze qualifiers: the rhythm section is tight, the instrumentation is beautifully layered, the vocals are awash in a dreamy haze, and the guitars complement the melodies at all the right times. However, that merely represents I Could See Midnight Sky's floor. Opener 'Nickels and Dimes' is Exhibit A, supplying us with a healthy dose of sparkling acoustic guitars and a refrain just memorable enough that you basically have to keep listening. It's gorgeous and iridescent, even if it doesn't necessarily jockey for breathing room between itself and the thousands of other emo/shoegaze acts who've conjured up similar atmospheres. At its best, however, I Could See Midnight Sky slowly creeps up on you with wonderful realizations - like the fact that the lyrics reside at an enviable intersection between the existential and romantic, or that the album simply gets better as you wade further into the tracklist - and it's these slow-to-unravel ideas that make Domestic Terminal's debut worth revisiting again and again.

For as aesthetically pleasing as the album's first half is, things really take off when you reach 'The Second Chicago Fire', where Jack Mancuso's voice sounds distinctly awakened compared to earlier efforts ("Now you levitate toward me / Look in your eyes and feel free!") as his drumming and Tim Hotchkiss' guitar work assume a much more dynamic role in driving the song (rather than cyclical-sounding default atmospherics). The band never really loses this harnessed momentum: 'Sunset Hymn' features some of the record's strongest percussion (Mancuso) and bass (Kyle Waggoner) , 'Indiana' implements a hazy, tripped-out guitar effect which is a noticeably unique and entirely welcome curveball, 'Amped' is simply too catchy for its own good (and ends too soon), and 'Worms' settles into this insane groove that persists for nearly the entire length of the song. The penultimate track, 'Capo 3 Song', tempts the assumption that Domestic Terminal is finally about to settle back into quiet elegance, but then the final minute swells with Mancuso's emotional distillation of the loyalty, comradery, and friendship that comes with being part of something bigger than yourself: "Start a band and stay together, hope and pray that we’ll succeed / Even if nobody listens, you’re still always who I need."

'Saint Mary's Road' is one of those songs that deserves its own paragraph. It's a breathtaking closer both musically and lyrically, floating on a sea of gently pattering drums while the vocals shift from pensive and singular ("The warm air felt just right / The slow buzz of street lamps gave off the purest light") to a triumphant group harmony ("The wind blew across my face / And this taste of heaven / Would never be here again"). This is the sort of song that seems like it was written with the same kind of urgency and finality which accompanies life's most notable goodbyes: graduations, breakups, funerals. It feels all-encompassing in its scope, as if it could be about any of those things without naming them specifically. Rather than dwelling on the wistful and melancholic, however, it's a nod to these once-shared perfect moments: "And this taste of heaven / Would never be here again". It's a fond look in the rearview mirror which simultaneously acknowledges that a specific phase of life has reached its zenith, but is now over - and the future is coming on.

Appropriately, it's Domestic Terminal's future that excites me - perhaps even more than this stunning debut ever could. I Could See Midnight Sky is about as solid of a foundation as any band could lay for itself, but there is still plenty of room to grow. There's so much sonically and instrumentally yet to be explored, and an infusion of new energy - no matter what form it comes in - should prove to be the launching pad that gets Domestic Terminal out of Bandcamp's basement and onto the radars of a grander audience. Even if that happens - and considering the skill on display here, it's not an outlandish bet - I'm still glad I'll always have I Could See Midnight Sky in my back pocket. It'll be their Whenever, If Ever, or perhaps even their Clarity. Regardless of what happens tomorrow when that damned sun rises, though, I'll still return frequently to this little gem - if only to lay out under the stars and get lost in thought one more time.




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user ratings (20)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
Lasseg
March 20th 2021


152 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Second Chicaco Fire is such a great tune damn

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2021


13792 Comments


wow this is an incredible honor my friend, I've been reading your writing on this site for years and I feel so happy that you enjoyed our work! This means the world to us, thanks so much

Digging: My Bloody Valentine - m b v

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 20th 2021


37115 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I promised myself I wasn't going higher than a 4 but then the more I wrote about it the more I convinced myself I love it (not just like it!). Sorry it's .1 shy of "die happy" status, but I don't do increments anymore. I'm not what you'd call an emo expert, but this is one of the best emo/shoegaze debuts I've ever heard. I'm sure that'd be an exaggeration to someone who frequents the genre, but to me, this is a very special work.

Digging: Manchester Orchestra - The Million Masks Of God

Colton
March 20th 2021


9047 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this rules

Bilbodabag
March 20th 2021


22 Comments


Yo this is surreal. Never thought we'd get a review let alone a staff 4.5 review

Bilbodabag
March 20th 2021


22 Comments


I'm the guitarist in this band by the way

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2021


13792 Comments


"Sorry it's .1 shy of "die happy" status"


Hahahaha i forgot i said that! a 4.5 is more than enough to make me happy

Gyromania
March 20th 2021


32259 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this isn't bad by any means, and some of the melodies are even lovely, but i find it too airy and kind of boring. definitely one of those albums where i can totally see the appeal for others

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 20th 2021


37115 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm a huge melody guy so this works for me. There's some room to diversify instrumentally and infuse more energy elsewhere which I alluded to in my review, but otherwise I had quite the opposite reaction. I could see how this might qualify as "pretty, empty" for someone else, my only recommendation before finalizing that opinion would be to bring up the lyrics on bandcamp and read them while you listen. Might sway you even if only a little. Whoever wrote the lyrics for this did great.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2021


13792 Comments


appreciate you listening Gyro!

The lyrics for Worms and Saint Mary's Road were written by Tim, the rest are by me with little edits and rewrites done by all 3 of us

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2021


2812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet that this lovely album got a lovely review!

i still listen to this pretty frequently when studying/getting work done, super pleasant stuff :]

Digging: Lunation Fall - Near

Ecnalzen
March 20th 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

ohymgoodness, DT has a review!



This is exciting

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 21st 2021


13792 Comments


i'm so stoked about it @Ec

Jesper that makes me so happy to hear

Ecnalzen
March 21st 2021


10650 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Heck yeah, YoYo, we got another thread along side your list now



Been vibing on Flicker a lot lately

Project
March 22nd 2021


4742 Comments


hey I thought I recognized that name Mancuso from somewhere! gonna give this a spin, this writeup and the 'similar bands' are basically catnip for me

Digging: half/cut - Salt an Atlas

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2021


13792 Comments


hope you enjoy Project!

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 22nd 2021


37115 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Have not stopped listening to this for three whole days now. This grows with every repetition. Flicker is a low key highlight and the entire back half of the album is straight aces. Oh, and Flesh to Spirit's acoustic outro is very pretty and deserves a mention. Also love the vocal melody in Raindrops' second half. Sorry, listening to this now and just keep noticing things I like. Album really takes off with Second Chicago Fire and never looks back though. Like that whole half of the album is a 5/5.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2021


13792 Comments


^ absolute legend. Sunset Hymn is my personal favorite so i'm glad to see you think it's 5/5 quality : )

Bilbodabag
March 22nd 2021


22 Comments


That's amazing to hear. A lot of people who've given us feedback seem to prefer the back half as well.

Bilbodabag
March 22nd 2021


22 Comments


As hard as it is to pick between our own songs, I think even as a band we all think the back half is a little stronger. Just how the track list worked out.



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