Empty Houses – Daydream
Ali Shea, where have you been all my life?
Those eight words, while light on prose, encapsulate the entirety of my feelings about Empty Houses’ debut album, Daydream, out now via Sargent House. The Shea-led, Detroit-based, retro-pop trio never fall short on the soul or passion of their hometown throughout this 10-track effort. That’s not to say that this is simply a throwback to the Motown sound of the 50s or 60s – though the inspiration is clear – this album spends it’s fair share of time in 2016, deftly weaving back and forth.
While my ultimate recommendation for this album is to absolutely listen to it in it’s entirety, there are a few (ok, maybe more than a few) songs that deserve some special attention. The title track, “Daydream”, as well as “Falling Away” – which we featured a few months ago – provide all you need to understand about the band’s sound; dancing across that line between modern and retro. Shea’s vocals are smooth and effortless, with David Mackinder and Adam Mercer (both formerly of Fireworks) expertly composing the musical backdrop. Perfection – three minutes at a time.
Next, I have to point out “Lost At Sea”, which would fit in right alongside Marvin Berry & The Starlighters’ “Earth Angel” in Back To The Future’s “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance scene. The nostalgia is strong with this one, but it fits into the whole without objection.
And finally, there is the penultimate track, “Every Word”. Also unlike the others – which is somewhat of a theme when looking at each track individually – it is pained and soulful, and touches on the very subject of sad songs and why we need to sing them from beginning to end – I know I sure do.
If every word was true, I’d be standing there with you
When you were right, I was wrong
And we sing the same sad song
We sing every word
We sing every word
It’s a beautiful and touching sentiment towards the end of Daydream – yet it doesn’t leave you on a down note. The closer, “Thunderstorms”, picks the album – along with your spirits – right back up, ready press play on track one once more.
(Photo Credit: Rina Movsisyan)