The vibe of Day Joy's debut album is undoubtedly dreamy. The Florida-based band intends that literally - but not quite in the obvious manner of gentle, mild, peaceful sleep.
Yes, it has cool cello, some warm organ, and spare banjo and guitar in wispy, atmospheric, reverb-heavy arrangements. There are lovely harmonies articulating what Michael Serrin - who founded the band with Peter Michael Perceval III - called "soft-spoken melodies." It usually moves at an aimless pace toward no clear destination.
But the opening track, with the appropriate title "Animal Noise," closes with an aggressive cacophony from nature. The next song is "Bone & Bloody," followed by "Talks of Terror" - which teeters on the edge of a climactic cliff but never leaps off, denying a catharsis that had seemed inevitable. The penultimate song is "Splattered Like Me."
Sweet dreams might dominate, in other words, but they're swirled with nightmares.
Day Joy, on its way to South by Southwest later this month, will perform at Rozz-Tox on March 8, and Serrin said in a phone interview that these contradictions were intentional. The tantalizingly titled Go to Sleep, Mess - released in February on Small Plates Records - was crafted as a concept album. "The idea of it was the mental turmoil that you may have when you can't sleep at night," he said, also comparing it to "that contrast between that beautiful dream and that terrible nightmare you have right after it."