Robert Powers, Jake Duarte and Joe Schwab are Four Day Beard. The band from California released their sophomore album entitled Somnium. Back in 2016 they released Four Day Beard which I reviewed and instantly enjoyed. Somnium did not make it hard for me to remember what I liked about them.
I grew up on '90’s indie rock. In those days bands like Dinosaur Jr, Pavement and Yo La Tengo were the bands the kids with “good taste” knew about. You couldn’t look up those bands because no one was really on the internet at that point. It was word of mouth. Suffice it to say although we are far in the future now in 2020 I felt like I was transported back to my teenage years. There is a slight nostalgia factor here I have to take into account but I think these songs are very accessible, catchy, well written and well produced.
It starts with the title track “Somnium (Prelude)” which is a short, ambient intro that seamlessly flows into “Chasing Birds.” The tom rolls, the guitar are fuzzy and a bit distant and the bass is steady. This is a song about reflection and gratitude to my ears. It’s heartfelt and never feels saccharine.
The band starts to rock with “Stuck Sometimes.” There is a J Mascis sort of vocals thing happening. It’s not quite monotone but not really dynamic. I thought it worked well with the music.
“Let It Go” feels like a slight change in vibe. The overall mood feels a little less reflective and more in the moment. I thought the chorus was quite joyous. They have more success with “Lost at Sea” and the slightly melancholy and Radiohead-esque “Living in a Daydream.”
The vocal hook on “Ready for Nothing” is fantastic. It’s also a mediation on life, death and this rat race we find ourselves in. The philosophical insight is subtle and doesn't feel preachy. “Hiding In Plain Sight” is great as well. I love the drum pattern on this song. “Calm Black Water” is an orchestral song and made me think of Sparklehorse which I mentioned in my first review.
They close with “Somnium (Reprise)” which returns to the beautiful ambient of the first track. This is a proper follow up that isn’t a complete reworking of their sound. It builds on it and they nailed it. Take a listen.
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