By Joe Hawkins
Lost It At Day One released to all streaming platforms in early 2019. The debut album of the Orem, Utah Folk/Pop group, The BrightSlide, it played a key role in the formative process for this band over the last four years. After undergoing a name switch and changing band members, the band ended up with 14 brand new tracks filled with the vocal riffs, catchy choruses, and innovative instrumentation you would expect from the genre.
Lost It At Day One speaks of many things young adults experience: finding your path in life, acceptance, and defining your own morality. It feels like you’re listening to the autobiography of The BrightSlide and its members Rob Speiser (Lead Vocals), Sam Prestwich (Synth/Keys/Electric Guitar), Melissa Alexander (Bassist), and Brad Lord (Drummer). Indeed, the record is brimming with personal anecdotes. These are told simply, yet honestly.
The lead single, “Headache,” comes in at track 7 on the album. The laid back Ukulele matched with mildly depressed lyrics at the opening gives it a distinct feel. It’s not one I would immediately go for when explained on paper, but it works. The vocals never become brash or overly aggravated, and yet carry well the frustration felt by Spieser. I loved the line, “Life never seems so bright when you sleep in and stay up late … my troubles are up for debate.” Cleverly put. How many of our headaches are actually caused by our own actions instead of the actions of others? Instrumentally, the track is a slow build towards the last chorus. It stays committed to the mellow, melancholy vibe that pervades it. No instrumental outcry betrays this, making it a consistent, solid track.
The best track of the album was the very next: “Walk This Way.” Lyrically, I found it by far the most compelling, and the arrangement was by far the best on the record. “This is the trouble with life. Maybe the blind man is the only one with sight,” sings Spieser in the first verse. “But something just ain’t right. Something I can’t feel.” The chorus emphatically compels us to “Walk this way for me,” but in a pleading, yet firm falsetto tone. This gentle and convincing reminder serves as the home base for the song, and promises a solution to the aforementioned troubles of life.
I loved the arrangement. There are moments of silence, moments of building tension, moments of reflection, and moments of revelry. Dueling acoustic guitars form the foundation that stretches through most of the song, and a good variety of percussion, vocal runs, and harmonies exists. It’s a memorable song, and one that stuck with me.
The band shows potential with this record. They have the sensibilities needed to continue writing in this genre. The raw musicianship is there, and that’s a really important thing to show your listeners in a debut release. So what could be improved?
A few key things – mostly production related. The arrangements were good. The band took time for silence, left space in the tracks, brought instruments in and out. Ranging from simple singer/songwriter tracks to full walls of sound, there was some good musical variation on this record. However, the mixes were inconsistent. The vocals were almost always recorded well, and placed in the mix correctly. Yet at times the rest of the mix was unable to match the level of emotion and intensity portrayed by that central facet. A handful of the buildups and subsequent continuations after the breaks didn’t quite land with the weight or force necessary. An added guitar power chord or piano riff at the right time would have given that much needed oomph. All these things would be remedied by working with an experienced producer next time around who understands how to make sonic impacts like these. Instead of self-producing, I hope this group decides to invest in themselves and work with a producer who can really take them to the next level on the next release.
The BrightSlide emerges from this record with an identity of who they are and the kind of art they want to make. This is, in my opinion, the most important thing a band could learn when creating their debut, and as such it’s great to see this band coming into its own. As they continue to refine where and how they show this, this tasteful, honest, and commendable debut album they’ve created will stand as a foundation for them and their listeners going forward.