As the last kiss of spring dries out and you sit dreaming of summer backyard bar-b-q-s, you should really plug-in and take a listen to Michael Rault’s debut full-length Living Daylight to get yourself in the summer frame of mind. Rault comes from our neighborhood to the north, Canada, wearing high top old skool vans and sporting a set of bangs and stache that come off as sexy as opposed to creepy. It felt like he was one of those acts that “burst” on the scene back in March with all the buzz that surrounded him during SXSW. He has seemed to capture that perfect balance of garage-DIY-rock and power pop vintage reminiscing that reminds you of listening to your dad’s record collection.
Living Daylight has been released on the ever-hip So-Cal hometown label Burger Records and it is here that Rault has really found his musical niche. The 10-song, 31-minute album bursts out of the gate with the jangly catchy track, “All Alone (On My Own).” Instantly you’re hooked by the singable lyrics and the infections beat/hook he has laid down. He really starts out the album on the right note here with crunchy guitars that lean towards 70’s rock and are infused with a fresh flare of cool. Throughout the album he sings a common theme of love lost, love grieved, and love found through listenable harmonies and easy listening guitar solos.
On “Hiding from a Heartbreak,” Rault slows it down with a yearning, hip-swaying song. He sings it from a place of heartbreak and the knowledge that he’s vulnerable and yet fully aware another love (read: heartbreak) is coming on the horizon. With fuzzy guitars and a yearning bluesy voice he pleads with us to tell him he’s not alone.
Skipping forward to “Dancing with Tears” we hit upon a track that feels the most psychedelic among the album. Though it actually feels circus-like with a Parisian influence of bells and a sashaying beat. It ends up being the feeling avant garde when compared against the other nine tracks.
“Lovers Lie”, my favorite off the album, is a ballad that feels the most authentic of the bunch. Here Rault hits at a swinging easy Beatles sounds while being totally utterly depressing in the short 3-minute track. Ralut hits hard with the truth about the lies we tell our lovers and ourselves when we are in the throws of infatuation. “The way they carry on should be a crime/ I can see what you are doing to me/ you fill my heart with misery/ every step and breath I take/ I am more in love with you.”
He leaves us with the earnest tune “Too All My Friends.” Here we are treated to the harmonies of Rault and his guitar solos (as he does on most of his tracks) and what feels to be a genuine ode to the friend (or significant other) that you really never want to lose contact with. “Just a little bit of your love/ I gotta have it/And when you gotta know it’s commin’ back/ tell me you’re commin’ back.”
It’s clear from the first listen that Rault is just like the rest of us, he’s a dreamer, and all he wants is “just a little bit of love.“ Living Daylight is a hopeful and charming album about heartbreak that will surely have us coming back to listen again and again all summer long.
Words: Anne-Marie Schiefer