With its generally moody attitude, Days Gone By can feel a bit one-note, which is partly due to how well the producers have established their sound in just three years. From the moment the foreboding piano and chunky drum machines drop into sulking opener "Like It Or Not," Vallance and Howie make their presence known. Most of Days Gone By is a variation on the same themes and ingredients: dissolving relationships, infidelity, wounded guitar licks and a warm low-end pulse. These two are exceedingly good at this. The way they buoy their songs on deep, enveloping basslines gives the music a sultry embrace.
Talking about his new album with Billboard, Howie said, "Our production and our writing process is basically the same." Which is key to understanding how their music works: sound design and production flourishes are as important as the guitars, lyrics and songwriting. "Talk" shows how Bob Moses can work the dance floor, with its heavy, clanking beat and a catchy chorus that streams out naturally like streaks of sunlight. The strong production values and candle-lit atmospheres—particularly the reverb on the vocals and the soft-focus feel of the keyboards—keep Days Gone By's wee-hours flicker engaging, even when the minor key melodies mush together.
This is the kind of debut album that comes after years of hard work, one that perfects a sound rather than re-invents it. Bob Moses aren't trying to surprise you, and if you like what they've done before, then you'll find lots to love here. Ironically, even if Days Gone By is the band's least club-ready record, it falls victim to the trap that ensnares most techno albums: too much of the same, all lined up in a row. The duo remains an electrifying live act, where they link their songs together like a DJ set. Instead of capturing that feeling, Days Gone By focuses on the band's smoky, bedroom-ready style. It's only half the story, but it's still a pretty good one.