David Backshell & The Nighttime Gals
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David Backshell & The Nighttime Gals

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Art Rock

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"Review – David Backshell"

Toronto-based singer-songwriter David Backshell delivers with his newest album, Codeine Dreams. A moody, changeable documentary of personal struggles and emotions, Backshell balances atmospheric harsh reality with an air of ungainliness, and as a result, Codeine Dreams wavers between being polished and being unmistakably fresh-faced.

Opening track “Everyday Is Yesterday” is the best of what Codeine Dreams has to offer—a soundtrack-esque, soft-treading choir, “Everyday Is Yesterday” blends honeyed harmonies with an undertone of jazz. With the ending of each track bleeding into the opening of the next, Codeine Dreams is less of an album and more of a storytelling experience, making up for its lack of musical variation in its steadfast emphasis on lyricism.

On the flipside, the lyrics can tilt towards being too on the nose, such as late-album track “Halloween”. Backshell’s husky leading vocals and straight-laced approach to songwriting would benefit from more variation in tempo, as each track follows more or less the same rhythm, but overall Codeine Dreams is a solid entry into the music scene and leaves audiences curious as to how Backshell will continue to grow as an artist. - Canadian Beats


"Review – “Codeine Dreams” – David Backshell"

It’s been three years since Grayowl Point covered David Backshell’s debut EP, and in that time he’s followed up with another and is now releasing his first full-length debut, Codeine Dreams.

Backshell’s ability to weave in familiar elements is still strong with his latest, songs taking turns sounding like darker, more solemn versions of the folk and pop sounds that have marked the last decade. But Backshell’s ability to fill those sounds out, like he does on opener “Everyday is Yesterday,” into ominous choruses and echoing, bleak verses is still as strong—if not stronger.

Maybe Backshell’s history plays a part in his ability to seamlessly merge together multitudes. A Montreal transplant by birth—who grew up in the UK before making Toronto home—he must know a thing or two about synthesizing and adapting to the world around him, even as those familiar sounds morph and change to fit the world Backshell builds with every song.

As if to prove the point, he moves from a Coeur de Pirate opener to a folksy, broken Red Hot Chili Peppers for “Pins and Needles,” a song title shared with another track from a Toronto band (among others).

Joined by Chantal Sylvestre on vocals, songs like “A Deal Gone Wrong” come into their own, shifting away from musical echoes to new expressions as the two go back and forth on the lament. “Reaver” again picks up Backshell’s fixation on yesterday—his preoccupation with looking back driving the melancholia of the second half.

The soaring, chorus-like repetition of the opening track returns for the hymn-like, and hypnotic, “Conduit” as Sylvestre’s voice reaches for stunning heights. The aptly named “Halloween” marks the peak of Backshell’s haunting turn as “Dog Days of Summer” leads the listener into fall.

For followers of Backshell, Codeine Dreams offers both another foray into the unique spins that drew them in, as well as a welcome exploration of Backshell moving comfortably into his own creations.

Top Tracks: “Everyday is Yesterday”; “Conduit”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good) - Gray Owl Point


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Jack Derricourt, music blogger and editor at Digital Journal, describes the Montréal-born David Backshell as an artist who “finds himself in a new playground, with very few children joining him on the swing set.” Backshell was the lyricist on the successful production “Kill Sister Kill! A Musical” at the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival, and after this hit the studio with nine original tracks for his first full-length debut Art-Rock album “Codeine Dreams” which follows up his current two EP discography. This album is the culmination of several years honing his skills in songwriting, building on the sparseness found in his second EP “Halfsleeper”, which gained traction upon its 2014 release in Edmonton, Toronto, Niagara, and Hamilton, landing him in the top-20 requested artists in radio, and ranked 3rd on CJSR 88.5 Edmonton.

With the formation of David’s band “The Nighttime Gals” who are the MacDonald brothers: Graham and Josh [Itchy Bones, The Midnight Society] on bass & drums, Chantal Sylvestre [The Sound of Music, RENT] on vocals, and Michael Zahorak [Jessica Sutta, Lynn Moffatt] on keys/backup vocals, David takes storytelling to a new level rivaling artists within genres of pop, folk, rock, blues, where he is not afraid to showcase his willingness to break boundaries beyond conventional songwriting. 

 

The anticipated album, produced by Remy Perrin of WavePulse Studios, creates a self-contained narrative into the life of David Backshell and will debut Summer 2017. Subtle with his craft and buried in a world that grows forever louder, Backshell chants through. As Jack Derricourt put it, “It’s this flirting with inherited language, but never falling victim to the full brunt of its force that makes the lyrics stand out.”

Band Members