Tourist – “Everyday” Review
Written by Michael McKinney
Favorite Tracks: 6, 8, 9
RIYL: Lusine, Gold Panda, Thrupence
Everyday, Tourist’s second record, revels in the minutiae. Its songs are filled with tiny details, either in the foreground or background: a hint of clutter via chopped sample here, a fussed-over bit of static there. Its cover seems to be a tossed-off photo, a snapshot of someone’s morning, but the sunlight gives it all a certain warmth and its impromptu nature speaks to the LP’s intimate qualities. Even when its tracks explode into climaxes, Tourist seems almost self-conscious about it; he’ll play it out for a minute or two and then retract back into his comfort zone, taking synth pads and muffled kick drums and making tie-dye with them.
After the suitably named “Awake,” a track composed of metallic yawns over warped electric piano, comes “Emily,” whose pulsing keys echo Lusine’s 2010s work even if the soaring melody is aiming for something else entirely. The groove is as insistent as it is insular: deep house heard through the wall of an apartment, or through headphones, or in a dream. Chopped-up vocal samples and a squiggling synthesizer evoke the warmth of human connection, even if nothing is ever said; it’s remarkably comfortable stuff, likely because the groove never completely disappears.
The rest of the record, for better and worse, paints in the same emotional palette. The sonics vary, sometimes: a few bits feature more insistent drumming, whether echoes of breakbeat (“Love Theme”) or a jazz-indebted shuffle (“Apollo”). Elsewhere, “Gin Under the Sink,” a highlight, features underwater keyboards, a few plaintively edited voices, and just enough tape hiss to make it a quiet marvel; the distant saxophone he puts into the mix in the second half is a strange choice, but an exciting dare nonetheless. Elsewhere, he finds quiet joy in chiptune-indebted synthesizers (“Violet”) and clouds of bells and a handclap (“Hearts”). Even when he varies his timbres, the record retains its bookish and reserved qualities: these are tracks that explore but don’t want to make a mess out of it.
There’s a strange issue at play, though. The strongest point of Everyday is its sense of bleary warmth, and this is despite, not because of, the tight emotional and sonic range he works within. Textural differences may differentiate the pieces, but they are distractingly similar in tone. It’s hard not to wonder what the record might sound like if he stretched out a bit more; there are a lot of excellent ideas present, but when put back-to-back-to-back, tracks blur into each other. As it stands, Everyday is an exceedingly pleasant collection of spaced-out downtempo tracks, with all the comfort that comes with a nap in the sun or a midday walk. It’s just hard not to wish for something more.