It was another successful year for Bren Eissman and Joey Spurgeon, better known as DWLLRS. The California based duo has been hard at work for the past three years producing a steady release of four songs a year. Their skills as musicians age like fine wine over the years as each release somehow manages to blow audiences away more so than the last. As they have yet to produce an EP or a full length album, Eissman and Spurgeon's chemistry combined with their single release strategy has worked nothing short of wonders as they currently boast over 740,000 monthly listeners on Spotify as of November of this year. On a personal note, aside the music itself, what I've enjoyed seeing most from the group are their Instagram and Tik Tok reels, where they announce the release of a new song by showcasing a riff together live on camera.
Off camera however, the year for DWLLRS began in February, with the release of their song 'Float Through the Ceiling' a touching piece on the matter of loneliness brought on by the absence of one's friends. The song's official music video depicts Eissman singing on a couch as it quite literally floats through the sky while visions of friends, dinosaurs, and bird masked dancers fill the background. The song's melody is a foot-tapping wonder despite the more serious undertone of the lyrics.
Three months later came the release of DWLLR's top song 'Blue Spirits. Currently boasting over 5.6 million Spotify plays, 'Blue Spirits' won the hearts and minds of the duo's audience with a late May release to start the summer. It also contained the birth of Spurgeon's notorious beer bottle guitar slide technique not only piquing the interest of musicians and music lovers everywhere, but producing a sound so beautiful, it is near impossible to resist the urge to keep listening. The song, according to Eissman and Spurgeon upon its release, was addressed to those going through a breakup in an attempt to encapsulate the feeling of
"realizing [you] are free do whatever [you] want again" and having 'the whole summer ahead of [you]... driving with the windows down." As summer came to a close the duo released another clip using 'Blue Spirits' to keep summer alive as it exemplifies "the end of a day at the beach." The juxtaposition of Spurgeon's melody work on the classic electric guitar to the modern day produced beat under Eissman's vocals is electrifying.
Midway through the summer in July, DWLLRS dropped 'You're Gonna Cry' currently their fourth most popular song and moreover my initial introduction to the group. Many fans will remember watching Spurgeon play the song's iconic exiting riff with his beer bottle slide describing it as "the perfect song to drive to" on their Instagram. Eissman's vocals pair wonderfully with Spurgeon's playing, specifically during the final crescendo with the return of the infamous beer bottle guitar slide. The lyrics themselves represent a sort of teenage nostalgia singing about laughing with friends, stealing liquor from your parents, and the ultimate sadness brought on from the end of a first love. As a song acting as an ode to everyone's failed first love, it does its job brilliantly, particularly while Eissman sings his heart out as he delivers the refrain "I'll be crying over love, over love."
With the most recent late October release of 'Dividends' the duo seemingly reclines back to a more traditional acoustic sound that successfully manages to avoid overproduction. By the end of the year, DWLLRS lyrics have certainly earned a reputation of relatability, arguably a large portion of how so many have found comfort in their music. Although whether you're particular about a groups sound or an advocate of lyricism, 'Dividends' delivers both. On the one hand Spurgeon's acoustics give one of the impression of sitting around a campfire, while Eissman's lyrics tells a familiar story of how "everything you dream of always ends up going bad." The song tells of a
struggle with failure in the endeavors of love and dreams as well as ruined expectations. As humans we constantly struggle to traverse the treacherous waters of life, an idea expertly communicated in the song that spoke to me and assuredly countless others in the lyric "can't hold myself together, forever and ever, it's true. But I will hold you." Another beautifully written line of note was "I don't wanna grow up if I'm only growing sad,' a line I believed drew upon Peter Pan esque themes. As this is their newest work having not reached as many music lovers as of yet, I highly recommend allowing it the proper listen it deserves.