Arts and Entertainment

Dayglow is Changing, But His Music Isn’t

Pop-synthed “Harmony House” is the lush continuation of Dayglow’s upbeat and hopeful discography.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Cover Image
By Christina Jiang

If you’re looking for the soundtrack to your summer picnics, then Texas indie-pop artist Dayglow has released his latest album, “Harmony House,” just in time. Filled with bright pop-synths and cherry beats, “Harmony House” explores the themes of love, life, and growing up, accompanied by a familiar sound. Through experimentation and storytelling, Dayglow has mastered his happy-go-lucky style that audiences have come to expect, resulting in a hit album made for dancing.

Sloan Struble’s dive into music began under the name KINDRED, under which he released his first album and a few singles between 2016 and 2017, before permanently switching to the name Dayglow. He began releasing singles under Dayglow between high school and college until the release of his debut album, “Fuzzybrain,” (2018). The album was a breakout success, with tracks like “Can I Call You Tonight?” finding chart success and acclaim for their nostalgic melodies and tantalizing guitar riffs. The success of “Fuzzybrain” would lead Struble to drop out of college to fully pursue his career as a musician. Finally, almost three years after the release of “Fuzzybrain,” Dayglow’s second album, “Harmony House,” has arrived on May 21, 2021.

Those expecting a distinctly different album in “Harmony House” may be disappointed due to its similar musical style to “Fuzzybrain.” Throughout the album, Struble maintains his rather distinct musical style of acoustic jams and synth-filled grooves, though with more polish than his previous album. However, Struble takes various creative liberties with “Harmony House,” particularly regarding its genre. For this album, Dayglow takes inspiration from past ‘80s pop music, demonstrated in tracks such as “Crying on the Dancefloor” and “Into Blue.” “Harmony House” also takes a new approach tonally, as the album begins with a bombastic and cheerful energy in songs such as “Something” and “Balcony,” but ends with tracks like “Strangers” and “Like Ivy” that express a calm, somber disposition.

In line with the theme of its predecessor, “Harmony House” has a major focus on how change affects people. Struble revealed that the album is deeply personal to him, as it is about him growing up and having to grapple with the changes associated with his newfound fame. The first track, “Something,” is a short, sweet pop track backed up by infectious woodwind grooves and high-register vocals. In the song, Struble contemplates who he will be as time goes on and comments on his grievances working as a musical artist. In “Medicine,” Struble talks about his struggles with a static, codependent relationship in a dynamic world. He accompanies this message with a song led by catchy ‘80s-inspired synths and an enticing percussion beat. Midway through the project, “Close to You” expresses Struble’s frustrations with his feelings toward a special person and is backed up by a danceable melody filled with snappy synths. The album ends with “Like Ivy,” serving as a retrospective for the entire album, as Struble reflects on his past, all his possible “what ifs,” and his anxiety about the future. The song is a lot slower than the typical Dayglow track, yet it still captivates listeners with a combination of pleasant synths, soothing guitar, and a borrowed melody from the first track, making the album come full circle.

“Harmony House” makes it clear throughout its duration that it is a project singer Sloan Struble is deeply passionate about. The album delves into Struble’s personal feelings and frustrations through its soothing pop tunes, allowing audiences to understand and learn from him. In his lyrics and music, Struble is growing up, but at the same time, remains the same happy-go-lucky Dayglow that audiences have come to love. Overall, “Harmony House” shows Dayglow’s growth as an artist as he continues to demonstrate his talent by producing enjoyable pop tunes while also refining his music stylistically.