broaddaylight is a dreampop band from Fullerton, California. They’ve been around since 2005, but after some initial success, they took some time apart. Just after they formed, the band self-released an EP called The Bell Jar, which was mastered by Cocteau Twins mastermind Robin Guthrie. That EP did well, and they got to work on their debut album Stars Out. At some point in the process, they decided to shelve the project. Guitarist/programmer/synths player James Eakins and vocalist Sarah Eakins went in one direction, while guitarist Henry Bennett moved to Texas to work on some solo stuff.
In 2011, the band reunited and finished working on Stars Out, which was again mastered by Guthrie. Not content to rest on their laurels, they quickly but carefully churned out their sophomore album anniversaries:reunions, which was released on April 2. This new record marks their third collaboration with Robin Guthrie and their first release for the excellent shoegaze/dreampop label Saint Marie Records out of Fort Worth, Texas. I wrote about another release from that label last night, and you should expect a lot more in the very near future.
anniversaries:reunions landed in my mail bag last night, and I spent a bunch of time with it this morning. Tonight’s song is the first song from the album, and it’s a pretty good example of what’s in store for the rest of it.
“Arpeggio” by broaddaylight
Right from the drop, I should say that I’m very much reminded of two things. This whole album is a lot like the stunning 1996 album The Crossing by the Virginia dream-pop duo Siddal. If you’ve never listened to Siddal, I strongly urge you to click that link and revisit my post about them. Unfortunately, all of their records are out of print and difficult to find copies of. But if you come to my house, I’ll play them for you.
Also, I think that it’s worth pointing out how much the album artwork for anniversaries:reunions resembles that of Enya’s seminal 1988 multi-platinum album Watermark.
The colors. The positioning of the images. The positioning and color of the text. The fact that they both look like oil paintings. It’s a very similar layout. Nothing is “exactly the same”, but it’s crazily similar. I’d like to think that the similarity between the album artwork is no mistake and no coincidence. Say what you want about Enya, but Watermark was a really important record.
Back to the task at hand, this song kicks off the album with a brilliantly dreamy synth and guitar reverberation mixed with a really magnificent cascading drum loop that’s just barely covered up by the mist and fog. Eakins’ dreamy vocals fit into the equation just perfectly. Without even being aware of the association with Robin Guthrie, it would be really easy for the listener to say that this reminds them a little bit of Treasure-era Cocteaus.
The thing is, this isn’t even my favorite song on the album. There’s a much more hazy delay-laden song called “Reunions” that literally took my breath away while I listened to it this morning. Again and again.
Although I first listened to the album through quality earbuds while I was working this morning, and again a few times through quality headphones right now as I type, I’ll suggest playing it over real speakers. Quite loud. With the lights off.