If you were to pick up and listen to Tussle without previously having heard Day Ravies’ fuzzy demos, you would probably never figure out that it’s a debut album. Tussle has a sense of maturity about it that some first-timers fail to grasp in their formative years and it shows through fervently, all the while dreamily drifting from ’90s pop to shoegaze and back again. Opening with ‘Leaky Tin’, the soft tones of Caroline de Dear nudge you in to the Tussle experience, just before feedbacking into a slow, melodic drag accentuated by guitarist Sam Wilkinson taking the vocal lead.
While it’s hard to pick a clear-cut favourite, ‘I Don’t Mind’ is definitely one of the album’s strongest tracks – to put it simply, de Dear’s delicate vocals and Wilkinson’s guitar melody go together like… at first I was going to say cheese and wine, but it seems more suited to beers in the backyard on a sunny day, and that’s exactly how you should be listening to this.
Tussle is a solid repeater record for the summer, providing the soundtrack to lazy hot afternoons or going on a long drive out of town. While it may be following hot on the tail of the likes of Dick Diver and Twerps, Day Ravies is a band that stands up proudly on its own, with sounds that are dazed and dreamy but with a big enough melody to get you to stop nodding along and start moving.
There need to be more debuts like Tussle. This quartet simultaneously stumbles out into the unknown while having a firm idea of where it wants to go. With pleasant surprises around each corner, it’s not an album to grow tired of easily.
BY KIRSTIE SEQUITIN
Tussle is out now through Popfrenzy.