In our younger days, mentions of California generally came accompanied by thoughts of Hollywood, and valley girls with their bleached blonde ‘like, totally omg you guys’ type of personality. Nowadays our perception of California stems more from the records we listen to than the TV shows we saw as a teenager. As such we tend to think more of a laid back, sunshine coated world of quiet hills rolling along the coast.
We have Golden State residents Dim Peaks to thank for this perception as their debut album, Time Of Joy is a blissful moment of stillness in an otherwise hectic life. Like bobbing in a boat on an empty lake, a bait-less string tied to your toe to catch fish that aren’t biting.
Their soft Americana rarely flips the dial to any setting above tranquil. Brushed rhythms gently lap against the shore of mellifluous guitar and occasional piano melodies while Niilo Smeds’ vocal recounts tales of the world around us. “Slumberland” could easily be a destination rather than a song title as the album is so warm and relaxing. The whole thing is completely at ease with itself and its surroundings, a calm and welcoming world where friends drink and laugh in their lush, green garden setting.
While it is laidback and calm, Time of Joy is never downbeat or morose. In fact the whole thing is peppered with little moments that will bring an easy smile to your face. Moments like the organ sounds of “Yellow Mountain” or the flashes of psychedelic wobbliness layered into the Kinks-esque folky-pop of “Long Goodbye”, flashes that add a ripple of heat shimmer to the album’s horizon. Lyrical moments like “rejecting rejection/I’ll sell my sorrows/at the sorrow fair” on the title track that catch in your mind and make you wish you’d thought of them.
It’s only 30 minutes long but its 10 tracks feel neither too short nor too long. It has been beautifully crafted and constructed for our listening pleasure, and it is a pleasure. Listening to Time Of Joy is like laying back on a hammock made of clouds, sunshine on your face, gently swaying from side to side as the cool summer breeze gently nudges you along, and who doesn’t want to do that?
’Time Of Joy’ is released on 3 September via the always amazing Gold Robot Records, and can be pre-ordered here.