The Lost Days
In all honesty, if the impetus for your band includes an obsession with the first three Bill Fox LPs, I’m already in line for the result. Add to the formula a commitment to finding the crossover between Fox’s home-recorded fabric, Guided By Voices’ taut immediacy, and the acoustic breezes of The Byrds and The Lost Days’ debut has charmed its way onto my well of 2023 favorites. The band is the collaboration between Sarah Rose Janko (Dawn Riding) and Tony Molina (Ovens), born out of shared grief for the passing of a mutual friend. Molina’s already carved out a niche for himself in brevity, with a catalog full of gems that never overstay their welcome and always leave the listener lunging for the repeat button. With Janko he’s expanded that ideal into an album that captures his aptitude for compact classics and pairs them with her honey and haze vocals. Her voice is like a missing puzzle piece that’s finally let the picture pull into focus.
There’s something immediately familiar about their pairing. Their works feel like snippets of songs that exist in dreams — the kind you’d kill to remember as the dawn shakes away the details in daylight. The formula scuttles Tony’s earlier power pop penchant and leans into the soft-focus jangles that have cropped up on his last two records. The pair stitch together an album of in-betweens, moments that flicker butane bright but snuff with a sigh. The songs bloom into the sort of hooks that help you come to grips, littered with laments of new starts, old habits, alcohol’s hold, and tomorrow’s promise. The record is tender and touching, an all too brief moment of clarity that implores the listener to linger in its grasp again and again.
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