According to daze, the writing of ‘yourself’ only began towards the end of last year. Mind you, even by the standards of most DIY artists, their recent output verges on the prolific, with this single following two self-released EPs and a single, all since July 2020. Having met in college in 2017, their later releases reflect a second stage for the pair; a shift into dreamy indie-pop, and away from singer-songwriter fare. It’s possible that this recent prolific spree is due in part to lockdown, which probably suits the creative process of a self-described “bedroom pop” act, and daze – who are comprised of duo Daisy and Scott – seem to have mastered the sub-genre even by this early stage of their career.
For starters, ‘yourself’ comes packaged in what, judging by their Bandcamp, is something of a signature style for the duo, with its kawaii-leanings in coloured pencil evoking ’90s tech and kids’ cartoons. That return into youth typifies the best of indie-pop, right back to the Sarah Records days, although the piano loop that whirls through ‘yourself’ arguably has more in common with a house record. Between the piano and the drum machine hits, there’s a little of the pop-dance that dominated the charts some fifteen years ago in the track, but intermixed here is dream-pop guitar that shimmers in layers and layers, gently building with emotion amidst flecks of picked out notes, and echoing around Daisy’s impressively honeyed voice.
With a neat line in richly emotional lyrics, ‘yourself’ tells the story of a friend of Daisy’s, and their struggles with their mental health. “Do you know what I’m on about?”, Daisy sings, “I haven’t seen your colour lately” – a neat nod to the near dayglo imagery of the single’s cover sleeve, with the percussive nature of each line dangled delicately around the lilt of the track’s melody. Loosely structured, the song’s lyrics repeat whilst building with subtle changes, drawing the listener in, before, at the song’s close, they drape over each other and then fade out.
Featuring the pair running in slo-mo towards the camera, in a colour-saturated version of the woods, the self-directed video is oddly reminiscent of Pixies’ ‘Velouria’, although with a somewhat less demented bent and slightly more vintage sportswear. That said, the video shows a couple of people who are creatively in-sync, and happy to deal in an aesthetic that prizes honesty and expression over cool, sleek production values. And the truth is, that what the band lack in budget, they more than make up for in musical ability. ‘yourself’ belies both the duo’s age, and their origin story, and suggests that while they might soon make it out of the bedroom, staying in has helped them show their colours.