Despite what they might have you believe – this is not a dream.
If the single that preceded this (Feels Like Falling In Love) was not a big enough indicator that The Xcerts are destined for something big, then Daydream confirms it. Beginning with a solitary guitar riff ringing out – the gentle yet decided strum sets the pace for the song. Despite being an out and out love song, there is a certain air of urgency here – the palm muted verses cement this with an itchy feeling that insists that something is about to erupt. To further this, the pre-chorus allows the timbre to open up and sees the overall dynamic grow – ultimately culminating with a brief but blistering roll on the snare.
Enter, the chorus. The tempo doesn’t lessen in the slightest – a tight rhythm section ensures this; however, the rush is broken up, somewhat, by the intrusion of affirmed power chords that storm their way down the scale, in perfect syncopation, the crash cymbals assert the authority, making this chorus a force to be reckoned with. Another layer is added to this sequence by the employment of staccato piano chords – they’re simple but they sound pretty – effortlessly bolstering the romantic elements of this track.
At the fore of the track are the unmistakable vocals of frontman, Murray MacLeod. Dancing above the wonderful foundations set by the song’s instrumentation, MacLeod sounds in his element. The amorous wailings seem to ooze connotations of unrequited love and sticky break-ups – the bread and butter of The Xcerts’ songwriting. The vocals are certainly a defining quality of this band, partially due to the character and identity that comes in correlation with that Aberdeen twang.
To summarise Daydream, it’s a simple song, but it’s an effective song. Perhaps lacking the same ‘singalong’ factors that we heard in Feels Like Falling In Love, you can’t help but feel like this is one that will just be rattled through in a live show – to inject a bit of energy into a performance. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, at least the song has a purpose. At the short run time of 2:26, there is only so much depth that can be actualised here, however, for what it is, Daydream is a strong addition to what promises to be a career-defining album.