Elijah Montez is a Chicago-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, frontman, and creative mastermind behind Daydream Review. After relocating from Austin to Chicago, Montez and Daydream Review began catching the attention of Chicago’s leading tastemakers and beyond with the release of 2020’s “Blossom” and 2021’s retro-tinged, self-titled debut EP.
Last summer, the Chicago-based artist released two tracks, an A-side “Sensory Deprivation” and a B-side “Dream Sequence #29,” as a palette cleanser to his Daydream Review self-titled debut EP — and a teaser of new material. That material quickly established Montez as one of Chicago’s most buzz-worthy new artists. And adding to a growing profile, he supported that material with a lot of time on the road with a backing band featuring Kaitlyn Murphy (backing vocals and auxiliary percussion) and a rotating group of friends.
Slated for an April 7, 2023 release through Side Hustle Records, Daydream Review’s 13-song full-length debut Leisure reportedly sees Montez aiming to expand upon the layered sonic world he has created — and continuing to push the boundaries of modern psych pop with dynamic production and reflective, existential lyricism. “Leisure is about the ever-present tension between the desire for free time, for personal enjoyment and leisure, and the demands that capitalistic society places on those desires, and how it restricts the ability to enjoy that free time,” Montez explains. ” Your job and work, to me, seem to be consistent specters that haunt your ability to enjoy your free time, knowing that those demands are always awaiting you when your free time comes to an end.”
That uneasy balancing act between work and free time informed much of the album’s creation and its themes. “Leisure,” Montez adds “as a concept, became something almost otherworldly and that much more desirable, something you dream about when you have so much time funneled into work, and the repetitive act of balancing those two ends up being something almost hypnotic, and I tried to channel all of that into the sonic qualities of the album.”
Last month, I wrote about “Have You Found What You’re Looking For,” a mellow slow-burn centered around painterly, shogeazer-inspired textures created by glistening, delay and reverb pedaled guitars, fluttering synth arpeggios and paired with a trippy groove and Montez’s ethereal delivery. The song sees its narrator asking himself — and in turn, his listener — if they’ve actually found what they’ve been looking for, with the tacit understanding
“Have You Found What You’re Looking For,” Leisure‘s first single is a mellowm and ethereal slow-burn centered around painterly, shoegazy textures: glistening, delay and reverb pedaled guitar, fluttering synth arpeggios and a trippy groove are paired with Montez’s equally ethereal and plaintive delivery. At its core, the song sees its narrator asking himself — and in turn, his listener — if they’ve found what they’ve been looking for, with the tacit understanding that they may never actually find it anyway.
One of the last songs written for the album, Montez explains, “I had written roughly the first half of the song and was unsure where to take it, and I remember trying different things, and talking to myself saying, “Have you figured it out? Have you found it?” Montez adds the theme of the track spoke to the broader themes of the project as a whole, “The overarching theme of the song fits quite well in the context of the album–being dissatisfied with work, dissatisfied with the state of the world, and dissatisfied with capitalism at large, and searching for something that can fill in the void that all that dissatisfaction leaves.”
Speaking to the production and cyclical pattern of its rhythm, Montez says, “I think that’s reflected in the sonic quality of the song, this repetition and cycling through your thoughts and having that “a-ha” moment, where you realize you’re looking for something that may not come.”
Leisure‘s latest single is the lush, slow-burning “No Eternity.” Centered around lush glistening and wobbling synth arpeggios, a mix of blown-out beats and live drumming paired with Montez’s plaintive cooing and his penchant for well-placed, razor-sharp hooks, “No Eternity” manages to bring Currents-era Tame Impala to mind. Sonically, the track came together long before the lyrics. and its dreamy, lush atmosphere compelled Montez to follow through and finish it.
“Lyrically, it may be the closest to a song specifically about COVID–not the pandemic itself, but between the BLM protests in Summer 2020 and this change a lot of people have had to the nature of work, I had a hard time thinking of how things would look on the other side of it, and trying to make sense of the future when the only context you have is the past,” Montez says.