DaeMarcus’s sophomore album release has taken me by total surprise. Approaching this album from a fresh-face artist, I was expecting many things, but none of them prepared me for the 43 minutes of pure vibes that I had listening to this. Take It Back is a hidden gem that restored my beliefs in what really makes indie music indie, and in the thousand charms that lie therein.
DaeMarcus is the moniker for Adam Araujo, a Massachusetts native from the city of New Bedford. The one-man band has distinctive sounds that pull from many different, sometimes opposing directions, and the fusion is always done in such a way that serves a narrative, and a vision that Adam has in mind, for results that are crisp, cohesive, and often breathtaking. His music on ‘Take It Back’ can be mostly categorized as synth wave, indie pop, and shoegaze, and thus we can deduce that DaeMarcus’s music hardly resists categorization.
‘Moving Out’ starts the album with a gentle, tight musical hug. The piece has relaxing rhythms and a modal, washed-out harmony that makes it easy to get lost in its air add a couple of sensual synth solos with piercing and memorable sounds, and the result is an album introduction that gets you fully absorbed and ready for more, and more is readily delivered with the next cut, the title song. The longest on the album, ‘Take It Back’ starts with a detrimental grand piano playing consistent, warm chords. The chords create an unforgettable, dramatic tension that will soon paint the entirety of the piece. The vocals are washed out with delay and chorus effects, drenched in reverbs, making their minimalist melodies sound tantalizing and hypnotic. The song’s sparse mix is supplemented right after its halfway mark with a soaring set of synth strings, arranged to perfection to give the song’s 2-chord vamp the grandiose quality it deserves. A piercing, noisy guitar soon invades the mix in a lengthy passage which is where we get our first introduction to the album’s shoegaze leanings, and it would obviously be a crime to not give the main, percussive piano riff some love, as it provides us with the whole album’s most unforgettable hook.
‘The Way You See Me’ gives us atmospheres that would call Slowdive’s greatest hits album home. From hypnotizing beats, progressions, vocal timbres, and melodies, the song is a hypnosis fest. A harmonic shift occurs somewhere before the middle of the song’s runtime and it’s like the third eye has opened. A transformative listen of epic proportions of musical coherence, or to put it in less extreme terminology, it is a seriously delightful and seductive song. ‘Live or Die’ features an acoustic guitar for the first time, next to some interesting instrumental breaks featuring watery guitar solos and peculiar delayed synths, and an arrangement that soon puts us again in that revered shoegaze place. ‘Inside of You’, one of my absolute favorites, would make a chilling synth wave soundtrack for a mid-90-s David Lynch feature film. With its terrific, fuzzy, and creamy synths playing melodic pad sounds, beautiful piano detailings, soulful vocal delivery, and a lulling, moving rhythm, this piece can easily be called the album’s most poignant and romantic sounds. ‘Echoes’ would make another stunning cinematic soundtrack, this timeless synth-ey, and more indie pop. A dreamy, floaty ballad with soaring, purifying noises, this song is a gratifying journey that will keep you hungry for more, 8 songs into the album, and that is an achievement that should never go without celebration.
Do not be fooled by DaeMarcus’s low profile, for he is an artist in every sense of the word. Not only does he put out truly gorgeous songs, he also adheres to a sonic vision he has in mind, and manages to pull it off with graceful effortlessness on his sophomore release. I will keep coming back to this collection of indie gems for a long time, and I’ll be impatiently waiting for more.