I, and many of my friends, have just graduated from college. I’ve been a “real adult” for ten months, and I thought many of the hardships induced by my arrival into maturity were strictly location-based. I moved from Boston to NYC, and while there were some significant changes which were inherently New York-related (crowded subways, noise, extra stress in menial tasks), many of the adversities facing me are simply due to having graduated.
I’m working around fifty hours a week as a waiter, I’m stuck to a routine of waking up later than I want to, working, cooking, cleaning, and sleeping, and I realized the other day that no, these are not NYC problems; this is simply real life. The only thing particularly metropolitan about my current situation is the constant struggle to be a musician, and the association with people who literally never shut the fuck up about their ambitions. (That’s including me, before you accuse me of bitterness.)
In their six-song album Daydreaming, Boston-based Airacuda tackle this adjustment. The band describes it as “a conceptual album that dwells upon the desire to be a successful musician while trying to function as an adult in today's society.” Many of the album’s songs are existentially themed, including the blatantly named closing track “What is Real?”
Airacuda pairs this ontological pondering with a large range of influences including doo wop vocal harmonies, 80s keyboards, military marching snare, and background noises like crickets and waves.
This creativity serves the short album well, and even though there are only six songs, the work as a whole is rich and dense. Track #5 “Days Like Kings” is a seven-minute epic, with gorgeously raspy vocals and an androgynous genre that shifts back and forth between funk and rock.
The album is beautifully produced, and is impeccably mastered by Roland Greco (who I know is feeling some of the same shit as me because he was in one of my classes at Berklee).
Shortcomings in the album include its lyrical simplicity, which you wouldn’t expect from such complex inspiration, but its accessibility is occasionally reductive and juvenile: “On the road again/ Seems like we're always traveling/ To places we've never been/ Crossing county lines/ Playing the songs of our lives/ Fresh faces every night/ And they go (woooh)“
Using the phrase “on the road again” in a song does not make me go woooh.
However, the album’s harmonic and instrumental richness make up for the occasionally trite lyrics, and closing track “What is Real?” genuinely got to me, raising goosebumps on my arms with the ambient crickets at the end. Is Airacuda telling us that the only things definitely real are found in nature? Are they telling us that it’s useless trying to define reality and we should instead find solace in simply listening to the world around us? Or do they just like crickets?
Whatever the case, Daydreaming successfully raises questions without trying to answer them, and each of its songs has a distinct personality. Its production quality is admirable, and the concept that inspired the album glues each of its songs together to solve the ultimate purpose of inspiring the listener to daydream.
3. Paper Candy
4. Sounds of Yesterday
5. Days Like Kings
6. What Is Real?