Day Fevers, the debut LP from Art d’Ecco, takes the listener from the opening “Sunrise” to closing “Sunset.” But don’t be fooled, you will not find a flowing album structure here. As Art asserted in his recent Discorder interview, the album is not meant to be a unified whole per se. Rather, like a playlist, each song should sound “drastically different … not just lyrically or thematically, but sonically.” Whether or not this is accomplished is the question with which we wend our way through Art d’Ecco’s few hours of daylight.
Opener “Sunrise” confidently sets the stage with the sound and feel of a Tarantino soundtrack. It’s an instrumental opener that feels like it’s building to a sonic crash that doesn’t entirely come with second track “The Deal.” Telling a Robert Johnson soul-to-the-devil-for-rock n’ roll story, Art’s vocals enter the picture for the first time. His voice has a particular draw across the album, a through-line that gently morphs to each song’s tone. Sounding here like a syrupy Matthew Bellamy, “The Deal” continues the spaghetti western feel through dark, echoing guitar lines, while the same effects later applied to the synth punctuation provide a futuristic contrast.
The cloying vocals on “She So Hot” are reminiscent of choice moments of The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, the strongest indicator to me of the sense of glam androgyny Art purports to play with. The song is a tight piece of pop with precise jangle and a great horn line. “I’ll Never Give You Up” is synth-pop that wouldn’t be out of place at a Dark ‘80s dance party, with Art drawling like Neil Tennant at his most sultry.
The almost 8-minute “Until It Is Over” is a high point of the album. A romantic, brooding, adventuresome track that takes a turn at the 4.5-minute mark. Descending into a multiply morphing musical breakdown, the track highlights Art’s strength in creating cinematic soundscapes that have a visceral pull. Following this, “Sunset” offers a gentle but lackluster conclusion.
The intended difference between tracks is perhaps too subtle for the songs to avoid being homogenous at first listen. But the claim made on Art’s Bandcamp that Day Fevers contains elements of “70’s glamrock with analogue synthesizers and Motown rhythms; garage rock with Krautrock; and neo-psychedelia with… spaghetti western soundtracks” is not untrue. These myriad influences can be clearly identified throughout the album, and Art wends these elements together without being derivative. Fans of any of these will find much to enjoy in the polished way they are melded together on individual tracks. But as the sun sets on Day Fevers, the experience is, on the whole, inconclusive.