by Kysan Kwan
After the successful release of 2014’sOh, Common Life, Punk-Rockers David Mackinder and Adam Mercer of Fireworks shed their Rock outfit and enlist vocalist Ali Shea for a nostalgic Retro Pop sound in Empty Houses’ debut full-length release, Daydream. Driven by bright and playful piano lines with tinges of brass and synth, Daydream manages to be infectious and memorable without becoming too overstated or generic. Shea’s vocals are expressive and dynamic throughout the album; from the empowering breakup tune “Hold Your Hand” to the reserved piano ballad “Every Word,” she demonstrates her ability to match her voice to complement a number of styles and moods. That being said, it’s clear that the strongest points on this record are in the bouncy, bubbly tracks that just make you want to dance – and Daydream is an album that knows this, as it’s easy to feel the pure sense of energy that permeates nearly every song. While it is possible for this to become overwhelming or repetitive at some points, Daydream does an excellent job at conveying a single underlying tone in several different ways. The contrast between the swaying and subdued “Lost At Sea” compared to the bass-heavy “Falling Away” is an example of this. Overall, Daydream brings to the table a collection of sounds that lifts the spirits and give the listener a chance to sit back and reflect on times past; a record released just in time for the summer.