With a split, a self-titled LP, and a couple of singles under their belt, the Atlanta-based trio of DayGlo Mourning have kept themselves busy since their first release in 2018. As the name suggests, the band has a little dichotomy going on; to be specific, it plays heavy music distinguished by lighter spirits than most. There are a lot of directions in which that could go, but whatever combo you’re imagining, it’s probably not quite hitting the mark.
In practice, DayGlo Mourning‘s music feels pretty much like that nebulous deep-toned rowdiness people think of when the term ‘heavy metal’ is tossed around, with added shots of doom’s gloom and slowed tempos. There are big and brassy riffs, percussion with so much cymbal-riding that they feel like a cowbell’s going to be struck at any moment, boisterous vocals, plenty of room for guitar solos, and lyrics that tend to not benefit from deep analysis.
The band does seem to be having fun with it, and they do good work in changing things up from song to song. One might be built around repetition of the chorus with increasing intensity, the next might slow down to focus on atmosphere and effects. The general spirit is consistent, though, and the drums (handled by Ray Miner) come off as the instrumental presence with the least range, clanging and banging along with doubled-up beats to emphasize the end of a measure, while the strings get to play with pedals and filters. It’s practically a relief when they thin the din down to a clear level for a bridge or intro, as the usual MO leaves things feeling cluttered to the point of acoustic interference.
The vocals, contributed by both bassist Jerimy McNeil and guitarist Joseph Mills, are well-suited to the semi-retro style of the music, coming out earthy and smoky, like the countertop at a long-standing barroom. The solos are serviceably groovy, riding along on lush timbre and reverb, and the bass is reliably rich and well-textured, whether going for a laid-back or menacing mood.
It’s one of those albums that you might put on, listen to, have a good time, and then be hard-put to say anything about any one song. And it’s not (just) because it’s such a smoke-friendly album (though it is), but more because it all flows together without much distinction. No ventures into weird time signatures, no drastic change-ups for the instrumental interplay from track to track, not much shift in overall dynamics at all. If you’re clicking with the van wizard vibe then, hey, here’s a half-hour and change of riffy fun, no shame. But if you want any sort of show of the band you’re listening to pushing its own song-writing envelope, odds are that this isn’t going to do the trick for you.