Back in November 2016, Jackson Phillips, the sole member of indie pop band Day Wave, released what would eventually come to be known as the first single off his upcoming album, The Days We Had. The well-polished track was unexpected, especially coming from a someone who had just released his first EP in 2015. Since then, fans have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Phillips’ debut album. Thankfully, The Days We Had builds upon the successes of past EPs and gives listeners an even more refined sound than he’s shown before.
On past EPs, Phillips made a name for himself with masterful use of airy vocals and a dreamy lo-fi aesthetic, which he continues on The Days We Had. Although we are given a familiar product, the more polished finish is what elevates the project higher than those in the past.
Listeners looking for deep or thought-provoking lyrics may want to skip this one. The themes of the album aren’t anything we haven’t seen on any other indie rock album. There’s an unspecified love interest, retrospective thoughts on Phillips’ resiliency through hard times all show up but are not fleshed out enough to be taken too seriously. This isn’t a drawback, as Day Wave has never been acknowledged for its deep lyricism. Established fans probably won’t knock the album for it.
Though the lyrical themes are simplistic, the album sounds great. Listeners are given the energetic percussions and dreamy synths that we’ve come to expect from Day Wave. One of the early released tracks, “Promises,” is an absolute highlight. The fast pace of the percussion and guitar fingerpicking give the song strong surf pop vibes.
The slower tracks accentuate the haziness that this album exudes, such as on “Disguise.” Although it’s slower than what we’ve seen from Phillips in the past, it’s handled perfectly. The simple-yet-rhythmic guitar strumming and romantic lyrics hearken back to the days of The Penguins, The Del-Vikings and similar bands that dominated the doo-wop era of the ’50s.
The Days We Had isn’t for those looking for a deep listen, and that’s OK. Philips remains self-aware and plays to his strengths. It makes for a fun and easy-to-listen-to album that’s going to be the backdrop for beach bonfires and. other summer 2017 adventures.
Follow reporter Hector Aguilar at Twitter.com/HectorJ_Aguilar.