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Sip on Water Street’s "Decaf Daydream": A Brew of Indie Pop with Creative Chord Choices

Water Street forges a refreshing version of indie music, inspired by the northwest hills of New Jersey. Together the group blends multiple genres including acoustic melodies, rock 'n roll, saxophone, and a tight yet funky rhythm section. The name Water Street, derived from their practice location, pays homage to their origins, symbolizing their strong connection to their roots and the tight-knit community that unites them. In the spring of this year, Water Street was signed to Philadelphia's indie label Free Dive Collective. With three albums and an array of singles already released, Water Street has just unveiled a new song and music video for their track, "Decaf Daydream," their first release under the label. Let's dive into it!

Water Street-PC Tyler Ripley Free Dive Collective

Photo Credit: Tyler Ripley (Free Dive Collective)

Water Street’s "Decaf Daydream," showcases the band’s knack for blending simplicity with sophistication. The song, marked by its great chord choices, offers a fresh take on what initially sounds like a straightforward melody. The music video, set in a whimsical backyard garden, draws a connection to the hills of New Jersey, where the band finds inspiration, giving it a cozy, homey feel.

In the live version, the harmonies from the expanded band are particularly striking, with strong lead vocals that exude an indie pop vibe while also evoking a sense of nostalgia reminiscent of early '00's Michael Bublé or Rob Thomas. The catchy chorus, featuring the lines "But can you feel me/ When you’re lonely/ Time is only/ Moments fading," will have listeners singing along long after the song is over.

decaf daydream-water street-PC Julia Aiello

Album Art: Julia Aiello

The track features a melodic keys solo by Kerssen and boasts a tight arrangement, enhanced by a full production that includes over 400 layered tracks. As Dave explains, “We recorded multiple acoustic tracks each with their own chord voicings so we could pan them in each ear and make the song feel bigger. There’s about 100 tracks just between harmonies, strings, and cello to really fill the space and help make the transitions between sections feel seamless.”

Lyrically, "Decaf Daydream" is riddled with coffee puns that seamlessly fit into the narrative, courtesy of Julia, who aimed to "get as many coffee/tea/café puns into this song as possible." The song is about trying to impress someone you’re interested in, but not quite succeeding, as captured in the line, “You’ve got an ice cold shoulder/And my pick up lines, well they’re kinda rough.”


"This one is a happy song about being a total mess in front of the person you’re trying to impress. I’ve definitely been that guy, bending over backwards to seem cool for someone who really has no interest in me, for good reason, because I was being a sloppy goofball instead of a cool, calm, collected charmer." - Alex Kerssen


The song’s structure is deceptively complex. Alex mentions the recording process was tedious despite the initially simple chord choices. He injected his "jazz wisdom and fancy-schmancy chord voicings," creating rhythmic and harmonic intricacies. "The magic of Water Street songs is that they may sound simple, but we actually crashed and burned countless times because of the detailed nuances in each section," Alex explains.

Dave adds, “The arrangement was also pretty deceptively nuanced. We all went into it like ‘oh the chorus is four chords, this’ll be quick,’ and we ended up spending hours making sure our chords in the chorus changed and landed together to emphasize specific lines. The flow of the song was crucial, ensuring it felt constantly in motion, even when most instruments stepped out briefly, the strings picked up to transition smoothly into the next section.

LONG STORY SHORT: "Decaf Daydream" is an inner monologue that exists only in a daydream. It's a fun sing-along song, carrying a more elevated version of an indie pop tune, but still fitting for any indie playlist.


Stream "Decaf Daydream" below!


Lyrics: Dave Paulson and Julia Aiello

Vocals, Acoustic Guitar: Dave Paulson

Keys: Alex Kerssen

Bass: Brendon Gardner

Vocals: Julia Aiello

Electric Guitar: Ed Woodcock

Percussion: Connor Konecnik

Recording, Mix, Master: Tyler Ripley (Free Dive Collective)


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