Instantly memorable pop grunge Americana mix.
Dari Bay is a project built by Vermont resident Zachary James. He cites broad influences ranging from Neil Young to Scottish Indie band The Pastels, Pavement to Wilco. “Longest Day of the Year” is an album that makes art of its brevity. Ten songs come and go in just around 24 minutes, generally arriving without fanfare and leaving much the same way. There is plenty of invention inside, though, and coupled with jangly, slightly grunged-up guitars and some lovely harmony arrangements, this is a record that could become a minor classic amongst those who get into its unfussy production. It is certainly a record which is Americana, but the Americana of a Bill Callahan more than, say, a Jason Isbell.
Opener ‘Wait For You’ sets the scene, vocals and guitar bursting in together, with shades of early Teenage Fanclub. First single ‘Walk On Down’ has perhaps the strongest thread of Americana running through it, twangy guitars and a rolling western rhythm, while the west coast harmonies shine through. It’s really quite an intoxicating mix, and perfectly realised.
‘Same Old Bumpy Road’ follows in much the same vein, and then the melancholy, thoughtful drift of ‘Secrets’, with some very laid-back electric piano, introduces a really nice and inventive arrangement, and some 60’s psychedelic sounds, too.
This is really a very sharp record, with no fat attached, just fine songs arranged to show off their understated joys. There are slight echoes of an early Americana cult classic by the Cosmic Rough Riders “Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine”, and if you enjoyed that, you should certainly try Dari Bay. Regardless of that, if you enjoy finding new music that is both punky and elegant, grungy and melodic, with lyrics that fold and weave their way around you, this could well be an enjoyable addition to your listening.