Decay debuts with “Staring at the Sun” (review)

Decay, 2020

Once again, a targeted ad on Facebook has worked wonders. I came across an ad for Decay while scrolling my news feed, and was reeled in by the deep emotion and passion conveyed through both the vocals and instruments. I reached out for their debut album super early and will be checking out Staring at the Sun today.

Starting with the title track, I’m immediately brought back to my angsty phase in the 2010s full of Turnover’s Peripheral Vision and Citizen’s Youth. With impassioned lyricism, moody guitars, and ample layering, this makes for a great intro to Staring at the Sun. “September 27th” maintains the slow, methodical pace and harmonizes the depressive vocals in the chorus to make for a magnificent piece.

“Empty Feelings” lets the guitar riff lead into the energetic intro. Vocalist Daniel Reposar does a fantastic job at painting a picture with his words here, setting the scene of sadness so adeptly as the powerful instrumentals complement his voice. “Ache” breaks into a more punk territory, as the vocals are shouted over a pretty heavy backing. A spoken-word conversation accompanies the bridge on the topic of dreaming, fueling inspiration to the listener.

The single that got me hooked on Decay, “Feel Better” channels Reposar’s lower register in the verse before an emotionally-explosive chorus with potential to stick in the listener’s head as he sings, “’cause I’ve been trying almost every day to make myself feel better.” With a steady drum/bass opener, “Hold On” is more quality Decay, echoing the anxious lyricism of previous tracks as the vocals beg the listener to remain.

“Misery” is another of the high-speed, high-angst offerings, which makes for a solid range across the entirety of Staring at the Sun. I wish the vocals midway through the song were higher in the mix, as I struggle to hear them over the instruments, but the nice, long bridge brightens the experience. “Endless Silence” is the album’s interlude, a resonant transition to the last bits of the record.

“Comfortable” compiles many memorable stylings within pop punk/post-hardcore for another resounding success. Worthy of note is this song’s bridge, with a chromatic shift in the riff that I am a sucker for. Last up is “23,” opting for an acoustic approach before the band hops in. The elongated instrumental outro comes after Reposar goes in-depth on the emotions of young adulthood.

Decay’s first outing, Staring at the Sun, fills a musical gap that I’ve been missing for ages. Drawing inspiration from some of my favorite bands of the mid 2010s, I found myself with goosebumps a few times in this album listen. This will absolutely be worth some more spins when it drops this Friday, July 10th.

Rating: 9/10

A press copy of Staring at the Sun was provided courtesy of Wall of Sound.