Album of the Day: The Day, “Midnight Parade”

Getting this out of the way first—it takes some real gumption to give yourself a band name that is nearly impossible to search on the Internet. Perverse ambition aside, The Day, a Dutch/German duo (Laura Loeters on bass and vocals, Gregor Sonnenberg on guitar) sound more like a sunny afternoon than the title of their debut album, Midnight Parade, implies. Riding classic indie-pop/shoegaze sounds and feelings hard, as heard right out of the gate on the opening “Island,” Loeters and Sonnenberg quickly set a mood of contemplation and genteel understatement, heightened by the slight distance and echo on Loeters’s singing throughout.

If there’s a neat trick that the band have, though, it’s in the way they can pull out quietly anthemic choruses and arrangements. That’s evident on the album’s longest song, “Berlin,” which comes to life with just the right amount of guitar majesty and wrings a gentle tension from a slow-building midsong break; it’s also in the suddenly uplifting bridge on “Where the Wild Things Are” and the massive conclusion of “Illuminate.” They also manage to sound simultaneously grounded in the past and perfectly of the present; songs like “Grow” and “The Years” could fit in on modern-day playlists as easily as they would have rubbed up against bands like Aberdeen and The Field Mice on ’90s mixtapes.

-Ned Raggett

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