When’s the last time you pulled an All Nighter? While the term often brings out a sometimes painful, struggling connotion – like fighting sleep to work a graveyard shift or take a difficult test not long after sunrise – veteran singer/songwriter Michael Baynes, leader of the NYC power trio Diver Through makes it an alternately edgy and rockin, buoyant, poppy and bouncy and most of all lyrically intriguing and insightful journey. He and his bandmates, Mike Rellah (Bass), and Ken Nasta (Drums), started out in 2013 with the single night recorded Scattered Days EP, but really got rolling after a several year hiatus Baynes dedicated to solo pursuits.
By making the opening track a blazing, hard driving reflection of anger (“That Side of Me is Rage”), he sets us up for a completely different journey than the band’s previous full length album, 2020’s The Way We Were, which began uniquely with a dream pop instrumental. Indie rock isn’t usually the most family friendly genre, but truly the most transcendent aspect of this engaging and rhythmically eclectic adventure is just how many of Baynes’ tunes are sparked by something his son or daughter did. The mystical and soaring, piano sprinkled pop-rock title track, inspired by a phrase his daughter kept using, isa pandemic era love letter to New York, whose energy, even at a lesser pace, was absolutely soul essential to surviving lockdown. The singer’s daughter also inspired one of the set’s great charmers, the mid-tempo “Ice Cubes,” whose title refers to the comfort of hearing them clink to calm anxiety during a tough time – even though on the flip side, drinking is somewhat an Achilles Heel.
Giving equal inspirational time to his son, Baynes’ slow grooving ballad “Time Capsule” (featuring a bit of a Jagger vocal affectation) literally came from a school project. He wistfully imagines that when it’s opened in five years, he could be dead, making the song poignant when it could have been whimsical. Baynes artfully fuses both light and dark on the song inspired by his late father – the jangling and spirited road song “Vials” – which puts a romantic/comedic spin on the idea of scattering ashes in many places – even if his dad didn’t like to travel.
Other compelling tracks on All Nighter include the reflective, Nashville flavored drinking song “A Slow Path” (probably the most perfectly crafted of the bunch) and the raw, acoustic guitar driven slice of nostalgia looking back on the innocent times of surfing the “Blue Ocean Blue.” Needless to say, there’s Diver Through gives indie rock fans a lot of coolness to dive right into.