Tuesday, April 11, 2006

sound the review

Saves the Day
"Sound the Alarm"

To most hardcore and pop-punk fans, Saves the Day has always been somewhat of an acquired taste. They started their career as a Lifetime tribute band (of sorts) before taking on a chameleon-like persona of changing with each album. Their most popular records to date, 1999's "Through Being Cool" and 2001's "Stay What You Are," often have the band's fanbase in the middle of a tug-of-war: OG fans would like to see the band return to blastbeat, power chord roots, while kids who discovered Saves the Day once they became an MTV2 sensation would like to see the band grasp an indie rock sensibility.

When recording for their latest album began, singer Chris Conley promised "the Beatles from hell," which left many people scratching their heads. I suppose you could turn "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" into a metalcore song, but I guarantee it's no different from sticking a toothpick into your urethra.

If the Beatles reference was just a way to throw off fans, then congrats gentlemen, for it sounds nothing like the Beatles. In fact, if anything, it sounds like Saves the Day.

The key component to listening to Saves the Day is that Chris Conley has a very unique voice. And as many bands try to sound like him (Taking Back Sunday), they can never really capture his high pitched wails.

As far as the album goes, it's probably one of the most aggressive Saves the Day records. While it does not have a lot of the open chord chugging that made "Through Being Cool" so likeable, it does rely heavily on melody, despondent lyrics and strong instrumentation.

The latter can be attributed to the addition of former Glassjaw bassist Manny Carrero, who lends a bit of edge to Saves the Day. Bass heavy songs such as "Shattered" and "Bones" are the kind of sick and twisted songs that old STD fans have been salivating for. And honestly, there aren't too many bad things I can really write about this record. It's strong, especially after Saves the Day's last album, "In Reverie," which wasn't weak as much as it was stylistically confused.

"Sound the Alarm" finds the band owning up to their hardcore past, while refining their melody and songwriting to outlast all the newbie bands who are trying to make a run for the crown.


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