A Spectrum of Sound
Gareth Daley, professionally known as Daley, delivers a “future-throwback” sound on his second album, The Spectrum. The British singer-songwriter first made waves in 2010 after being featured on the Gorillaz single “Doncamatic.” One year later, he self-released a successful mixtape that landed him a record deal with Universal Music. His first studio album, Days & Nights, was released in 2014 to critical acclaim.
The new album’s lead single, “Until the Pain Is Gone,” features Jill Scott and has already secured a Top 10 position on the US Adult R&B charts. The pair belt over a hip-hop beat, but because of Daley’s falsetto and tenor range, it’s difficult to distinguish which vocalist carries specific verses. Thankfully, Daley becomes “Selfish” on the following track, mixing cinematic strings with cosmic electronic noises, a combo that nails the singer’s self-proclaimed future-throwback style.
Daley glides through a spectrum of sounds on the LP. “Temple,” true to its name, is ethereal, while “Slow Burn” is jazzy and upbeat. Daley gets funky on “Sympathy,” then quickly transitions to a sound both cinematic and soulful. He sings, “We’re all messed up in our own ways / but I’m trying to change, and you stay the same / but don’t take it out on me, ’cause you’re not the only one.”
A playful guitar riff sets the album “On Fire,” until it’s doused with keyboards for the love song “Second to None,” which has a ’90s feel. Another ballad follows, but it’s full of ambient sound and electric guitar for some contrast. Daley saves the best for last: “Careless” is pure electropop and his voice cuts deep. “So don’t tell me things you don’t mean in the night / wake up the next day and tell me you lied / I never let myself do you that way / play with your feelings then throw them away / no, I guess I could if I was careless,” he laments.
The Spectrum covers a plethora of emotions and doesn’t shy away from combining and showcasing different genres. Overall, the record fails to embrace commercial pop, steering closer to an R&B/soul or adult contemporary sound. It has an emotional appeal that propels it forward and Daley’s vocals soar, making his sophomore effort an undeniable success.