Los Angeles quartet Division Day have been discussed in circles of dream pop and shoegaze sine the release of their first album, and while both those genres or stereotypes find homes on this album, it remains a more focused album than their previous effort. Visitation grabs onto the reigns of their past and propels the band into a more finished product.
You can immediately feel the dark spiritual quality that persists through this record from the opening minute of “Reservoir;” distorted drums cadences collide with a trainwreck of guitar. All this meets the melodic vocals, almost as if the entire song is riding upon a crescendo. “Malachite” resembles the first song, if only in the pummeling drumwork, as the overall emotional appeal of this tune seems to crash rather than rise.
So we come upon “Chalk Lines,” which hit the Internet a bit ago, and at first it appeals to be one of the more accesible songs, though careful listens reveal various guitar squeals into the outer regions of the song’s negative space. It’s this effect that makes the band resemble a darker version of Mew; the pounding drums with meoldious vocals seem almost like mirror copies of one another.
Other areas on the album appear to veer away from the various associated genres, such as “Planchette,” which comes as close to a ballad as you might find, although the instrumentation here is extremely sparse until the rest of the band joins. It reminds you of various soundscape groups, using guitar squalor to coat the melody, along with programmed fixtures in the background.
You’ll find an interesting listen if you check out “Surrender.” It’s a more exploratory OK Computer-era Radiohead track, almost as if it’s the middling ground between said album and Kid A. The industrial appeal of the track provides some variance to the album, and it’s placement here is perfect, as it mixes up the shape of the album; this is one of the things lacking on Division Day‘s debut. Such a technique is also employed when the band makes their way to the album’s title track. Around this point, the shift seems to go away from the instruments, albeit rather briefly, instead focusing on the strength of the dynamic vocals. This song is everything you want a dream pop song to be, even with the M83 textural effects vibrating in the background.
Visitation shows Division Day finally coming into an understanding of what they do best as a group, and when they hit their stride, you see them creating wonderful moments throughout the entirety of this record. Here’s the the band’s growth and maturity, and let’s hope for prosperity.
Download: Division Day – Chalk Lines [MP3]