Four years on from their blistering self-titled debut Static Daydream return with their sophomore release, Cracked Inside. If you are unaware of this power house band let me enlighten you.
Static Daydream is the latest project from founding member of both Skywave and Ceremony, Paul Baker. Two primo shoegaze bands of recent times. Static Daydream follow that same path creating noisy pop songs swathed in reverb and distortion.
What first attracted me to this band was their pounding rhythm section. It really made them stand out from their contemporaries. Where most modern shoegaze acts borrow from My Bloody Valentine or Ride, Static Daydream follow a more Gaelic route. The fizzing guitars and 60’s drums of The Jesus and Mary Chain were obviously a big influence on Paul as was the reverb washed sound of Cocteau Twins. I was keen to find out if that would continue on Cracked Inside. Let’s jump in and find out.
Opening track ‘Seconds’ comes barrelling out the gate like it’s the mid-eighties and ‘Just Like Honey’ is blasting out the radio. This would be an amazing song to see performed live. Its energy and melody carry you along like electricity in the overhead wires. Check out the video below.
We explode into ‘Just Walk Away’ next. Characterised by the dark, squalid Static Daydream textures we are used to from album number one. Driven by a fuzzed-out bass line, screeching feedback and Pauls hushed vocals it’s sure to be a fan favourite.
The pace comes down a notch, just a notch for ‘Die For One More Day’. First time I heard this I thought that it could be a heavy Ultra Vivid Scene track. The chorus is deliriously brilliant. Walls of noise and feedback couch this beautiful melody taking us to a false stop and into a watery instrumental outro. It leaves us with echoes of the chorus likes ghosts in the fog.
The unmistakable drum intro of ‘Everyday is Fall’ appears from the mists and we are headlong into one of my all-time favourite Static Daydream tracks. I first heard this one on a Saint Marie Records sampler and it was one of the stand out songs. Gone is the bass driven melancholy and we are lifted on a squall of fuzzy and heavily phased guitars. For me, this is one song where the core melody really punches through, leaving it feeling like a natural single choice.
‘Heavenly’ follows with the familiar return of the pounding drums and bass. This time I am reminded of our very own Glasvegas. Really nice use double time in the chorus to get us tapping along.
The ethereal backing vocals of Jamie Casey dominate ‘Eclipse’ giving us another texture to enjoy. In what is probably the most even-handed song on the album her voice is much-needed punctuation.
‘Way Too Deep’ bursts through the speakers with a summery buzz. Like a heavier, more fuzzier Primitives track. Bouncing along at pace it’s over before you know it making you rewind for another listen.
We return to the fizzy, bass heavy vibe for ‘You Won’t Be Mine’. This is a 50’s style pop hit dressed up in layers of dirty guitars and reverb washed vocals. As with all the songs on this album, it’s the strong melody beneath the swathes of distortion that cuts through and delivers.
Next up we take a detour into slightly more gothic territory with ‘The Fire Inside’. Sounding like a very early Cure song with its programmed drums and chiming bass. Anchored to the rest of the songs on this album with Pauls subdued vocals it doesn’t feel out of step. It feels more like a palate cleanser before we head into the sprawling epic of ‘The Night Closes In’.
I would describe it as this album’s centrepiece making its inclusion this late on a riddle. Again, Jamie’s backing vocals lift this song in all the right places. The combination of her and Pauls voices work so well together but they fade out all too soon to be replaced with an eerie coda section which reminds me of some lost Mogwai opus.
We are back up to full speed again with the short and sharp ‘Never Again’ leading us to the album closer ‘Control’.
More synth heavy than anything else on the album, it continues the goth vibe from ‘The Fire Inside’ and ramps it right up to epic proportions. This is a big song. Both in ambition and scope. A fitting end to an album grand in scale and rewarding in return.
This album hit me instantly but it has also revealed more to me on repeated listens. I’m sure it will for you too.
Cracked Inside is out now on Custom Made Records.