Written by: TL on 04/12/2016 16:15:52

Ex-clean vocalist from Of Mice And Men, Shayley Bourget, has been away from the limelight for some time while working on the sophomore album with his own band Dayshell. Their self-titled debut from 2013 saw them emerge with an interesting and unique style, yet wider commercial success didn't manifest for them, which is likely why there's been quiet around them while they regrouped and prepared a second attempt, one which is ready now in the form of "Nexus" a twelve track album of 45 minutes of length.

Stylistically Dayshell continue on the track they started mapping out on self-titled. Their sound is somewhere between post-hardcore and modern hard rock, dark of tone, not dissimilar to the general feel of Saosin's recent comeback album "Along The Shadow". The trio puts less focus on guitar leads, though, with Bourget's guitar mainly ringing on and off with atmospheric layers in the background, while the mainstay of their expression is held up by their strongest suits: His clean singing and bassist Jordan Wooley's pulsating fretwork.

You hear it instantly after the synth intro to opener "Car Sick": Wooley's djent inspired, organic note patterns instantly set the pace with rapid, satisfying thuds. And Bourget chants on top, with a unique timbre to his voice that's reminiscent of Chino Moreno when he lets it rip, or of Jared Leto's from back on Thirty Seconds To Mars' debut album when they were a darker, more progressive sounding proposition. Whether he spits words or extends them or lets his voice quiver or break, Bourget's voice sounds unmistakable and powerful, and if the record was only made up of just his singing and Wooley's bass work, that would probably be alright on its own.

Mood-wise, "Nexus" supplies mainly mid-to-uptempo, consistently groovy numbers, sometimes leaning barely into metalcore territory, with screams from Bourget dubbed on top of his singing (see "New Man", which sounds a bit like Shreddy Krueger in some places). It presents a noticeable step up from "Dayshell" in the department of simple catchiness, for while the debut album showcased this sound, the songs on it didn't stand apart too well, nor feel easy to recall these days. Here, singles like "Car Sick" and "Low Light", as well as "FTNW" and arguable album highlight "The Weapon", all have clear bits that anchor the attention and feel worth returning to, to snoop around some more.

The slow burning "The Weapon", is perhaps the best showcase of Bourget's immaculate vocal work, fortifying the impression that if for no other reason, his singing is worth keeping an eye on his music for. That being said, "Nexus" still as a lingering feeling to it, like Dayshell is a band still in the process of consolidating itself. The trio has gotten better at structuring things in memorable ways, but not without also feeling a bit formulaic as you progress as a listener towards the 12th track. This partly because drummer Zack Baker's playing feels a bit repetitive and safe on occasion, and partly because the music's overall attitude is a bit loose and laid back, like it rarely fully follows through with the punch it clearly packs. You lack that final sense of each song having been honed and elaborated to perfection, which would make them all stand apart even more in general, and make the best ones lift your spirits even higher than is the case at this point.

Download: The Weapon, Car Sick, Low Light
For The Fans Of: Deftones, Issues, Saosin, Thirty Seconds To Mars (back on self-titled)

Release date 07.10.2016
Spinefarm Records

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