With Brooklyn by way of Vancouver duo Bob Moses you always get two in one. Two men with one name, Tom Howie (Guitar/Vocals) and Jimmy Vallance (Production) set out to combine the best of a band with the energy and precision of electronic dance music. On their debut album, Domino Records’ Days Gone By Jimmy’s rich, deep production and Tom’s melancholic vocals straddle the line between album and mix, pumping out a blend of smooth deep house and downtempo verging on indie.
The path to becoming a band was indirect for the duo, who got their start in the Brooklyn warehouse scene, particularly with Resolute. Accoding to Vallance, “We’ve come out of that scene 110 percent. That is our birthplace.” Anyone who has been to warehouse parties knows it isn’t where you expect to see a duo with a band mindset and songwriters sensibilities. But for Howie it was the direction the duo knew they wanted to take: “We were like, ‘First of all, we’re having vocals on underground electronic music,’ and especially at the time, I hate to use the word ‘underground’ but it was, like, eighty to a hundred-and-fifty people were going to regular parties, and there were vocals on nothing. That was sacriligeous.”
Vallance is clear that cementing themselves as a band was a risk at the time but has paid large dividends. “People are going to think this is the worst thing ever and ruin what the music we’re making was, or people are going to dig it. And, y’know, thankfully, people totally like it. We both come from a band background, always wanted to go more, like, the hard-ticket-band route.”
After two EPs developing deep house featuring Howie’s smoky vocals and the subtle intensity and precision of Vallance’s production, Days Gone By is the step from DJ to organic band that the duo has been striving for. The album varies widely in sound but not in style; from the booming four to the floor house tracks “Like It Or Not” to funky downtempo “Before I Fall,” the album remains layered and layered with bright highs and wide lows. It’s a melancholic journey, the doubt and foreboding of “Talk” to the temptation and destruction of “Too Much Is Never Enough” are just the singles. Days Gone By is an album to dance to, work to, or really listen to, a trifecta electronic albums rarely achieve. Perhaps that is what will endear it to bassheads, audiophiles, and introverts alike.