Review: Day Joy – Go To Sleep, Mess (2013)

Day Joy initially began as a project between Peter Perceval and Michael Serrin. The two friends met in college and casually began arranging and writing songs on rooftops and porches, taking advantage of those warm Orlando, Florida nights. Over the years, those drinking and jamming sessions began developing into much more. Go To Sleep, Mess is the debut album from Day Joy, and the now steady five-piece band is starting to generate national buzz because of it. A familiar act in the underrated Orlando music scene, Day Joy is now on the brink of visiting some cities they’ve never been to, touring behind an impressive debut album.

Go To Sleep, Mess is built on inspired songwriting paired with catchy dream-pop melodies. At first listen, one may want to group their style with the likes of Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver— which by no means is bad company. However, Day Joy brings to the table their own style of haunting/ lush/layered/folk-tinted/atmospheric rock. There’s something different to it. Maybe it’s the ukulele or the banjo. Or Serrin’s distinct, arching vocals. Or the delicate inclusion of strings, bells, shakes and chimes. Or maybe it’s that Orlando air being heard through the tracks; an element that much of the country hasn’t heard before, or at least, in such a well-crafted, harmonious manner.

“Bone And Bloody” and “Talks Of Terror” are two early standouts on Go To Sleep, Mess. The banjo and harmonica are two instruments that each can bring a distracting focus to a song, yet “Bone And Bloody” naturally anchors on both to create a beautiful and rich sound. On the other side, “Talks of Terror” is sparse with a tortured, hollowing chorus. Serrin commendably channels his inner Thom Yorke on the track.

Overall, it’s a darker-themed album, but Day Joy takes it with stride. Even with the often gloomy and battered lyrical content and song titles, uplifting arrangements do glimmer on the album. “Walking Home” dances with some of those pleasant sonic vibes. The closing instrumental bridge of “Everything Is Going To Last,” is a wonderful, chillingly tranquil moment on the album. Title track, “Go To Sleep, Mess,” obviously covers some depressing material, yet the soothing atmospheric chorus is unmistakably hummable.

Last month, Mezzic interviewed Day Joy’s Perceval and discussed what went into the making of Go To Sleep, Mess. It seems most of the songs on the record have been around for years, continuously being worked and reworked. He also mentioned how most of it was initially recorded in Perceval’s living room with just a SM5, some Condensor mics and an Mbox. Yes, Go To Sleep, Mess has already come a long way, but being such a promising debut, the journey is really just starting.

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Rating: 7.9/10

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