When Ben Daniels went to make the first A Sunny Day in Glasgow album, he drafted his sisters Lauren and Robin to provide the ethereal, angelic vocals to top his blissful dream-pop soundscapes.
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, the Philly band's '07 debut, was very lush (and very Lush, as in the early '90s British band), a stirring blend of effects-laden guitars, electronic ambience, and floating vocals that occasionally coalesced into bubbly pop hooks.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow (ASDiG) toured in various incarnations, depending on the sisters' availability and the comings and goings of others drafted for tours, and the flux continued throughout the recording process of Ashes Grammar, the recently released follow-up.
"As it was going on, it was a roller-coaster, despair after despair kind of, but it worked out," says Daniels, on the road in Georgia.
With multi-instrumentalist Josh Meakim and singer Annie Fredrickson, he completed the album. It's a remarkably coherent 22-track collection that mixes brief, ambient tracks (think Eno meets Cocteau Twins) with more expansive songs that soar ("Shy") or rumble ("Failure"). It's easy to get lost in the ebb and flow - the flux - of the album's swirling textures and layers.
"I think it's not as poppy as the first one, and people like poppy," says Daniels. "I was concerned we would lose some people on this one, but people seem to like it."
When it came time to tour, Daniels enlisted locals Ryan Newmeyer and Josh Herndon to play bass and drums, respectively. For a second singer, he tried a "crazy global Internet search," putting out word for auditions.
"I had no idea so many people would want to join our band," he says with a laugh. "I told them, 'If you do this, you are not going to make any money, ever, and you're probably not going to sleep.' "
The eventual choice, New Yorker Jen Goma, saw the search mentioned on the popular music blog Brooklyn Vegan. The ASDiG that will conclude this leg of its tour Tuesday at the Johnny Brenda's is "a very stable lineup," says Daniels.
Daniels, who concedes that he tends to "kind of naturally agonize over things," is looking forward to the homecoming.
"We've been on tour for three weeks, and I've kind of been exhausted for two and a half of those. It's kind of my default. I need to eat some fruits and vegetables."