It’s refreshing when a band is hard to describe. As a review writer it’s certainly a challenge but sometimes it feels a little too easy to slap a hyphenated label on a record to describe the sound. Daydream’s second album, Mystic Operative, isn’t reinventing rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s also not so easy to pin down to a single scene either.
The starting point may be Dirt Cult Records. It’s a fit for the label’s punk sound with a DIY production aesthetic. It’s loud and fast. From there it takes on elements across the punk scene, from hardcore to garage and most everything in between. The introductory track, “Prophet of Peace” brilliantly straddles that influence. Featuring a pounding and tribal beat with call-and-response style vocals chanted over the top, it’s aggressive but contained. Then, just before the two-minute mark, it rips into a powerful burner for a moment and smoothly transitions back at the wrap. It’s defined by its anger, but i’s calculated and contained: ready to burst free but not quite doing so.
There are a lot of bands taking post-punk to new levels lately, reinvigorating emotion into what had grown into a stale and mechanical style. The songs here have the ambition of that genre but they bounce, roll, and bang with heated passion. “Duality of Love” clanks and bangs. It’s angular but simultaneously laden with hooks. “House of Relics” is in a similar vein with some Greg Ginn-style guitars. To cull a word straight from that song title, duality is a theme throughout the record’s and the band’s overall sound. It’s about co-existing within realms and maintaining an individual identity beyond the labels the man slaps on you. And the record slaps back, for sure.
Mystic Operative manages to balance the unpredictability of post-punk with the groove of garage rock, the fury of hardcore and the recklessness of classic punk. Roll those ingredients into a ball, then watch it roll down the hill and wipe out everything in its path.
It’s a good way to start the new year.
7.7 / 10
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