Saves the Day
Under the Boards


3.5
great

Review

by Serpento USER (12 Reviews)
October 27th, 2007 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fresh, though contrived, wave of emotion and power washes over Saves the Day with this concept album.

Pop-punk bands aren't very subtle anymore. Justin Pierre fights for all the high notes he can get, splaying self-sabatoge-induced angst all over the floor. Max Bemis bluntly tosses around snide remarks that would make Oscar Wilde himself shirk in a battle of contrived teenage wit. Matt Thessien feels obligated to scream "GOD RULES" every ten seconds, just in case people forget. Realistically, subtlety is one of the hardest things to pull off in music, especially in such a genre that stereotypically seems to favor commerciality over ability. Leave too much of it up to interpretation or refuse to take risks, and you end up being vague and boring; underestimate the listener's intelligence, and you might scoot right past "ambition" and smash head-on into "idiotic." Even when a band is able to settle into the elusive happy medium of tactless depth, luck still has a hand in to what extent that goal is achieved. To that effect, Durijah Lang's drumsticks must be made of rabbits' feet, because the new and arguably improved Saves the Day are just shy of perfect execution on their newest release, Under the Boards. Following its predecessor, Sound the Alarm, Under the Boards is the second in a trio of concept albums chronicling the discourse of self-discovery. As Sound the Alarm was a brash outcry of discontent, this album represents the remorseful soul-searching that follows, and it shows. Dark undertones are common in this record, a diversion from the norm for the band; however, this detour is expected as a reflection of the band's acquisition of Glassjaw's own rhythm section, Manuel Carrero and Durijah Lang. Still, these and other quirks are embraced completely, strengthening the feeling of lost inner tumult and meditation this middle chapter represents.

Even from the album's introductory title track, Saves the Day set up quite a powerful flow of emotion behind their musical tapestry. Chris Conley's voice seems to have matured even more since Sound the Alarm, and he himself continues to grow as a singer; despite relatively simplistic melodies, a trademark of pop-punk, his vocals never become tedious like genre staples Billie Joe Armstrong's or Tom Delonge's can. Chinks in Conley's wall of sound are tough to find, but do make an appearance, such as his whiny shouts in the midst of Woe. It seems as though Conley tried to overstuff the song with empathetic turmoil, yet ended up instead detracting from its impact with his irritating "Whoa"s. Even more curious, Chris sounds as if he has a cold through Get ***ed Up's entirety, unfortunately deprecating an otherwise enjoyable song. Then again, Get ***ed Up seems to be bubblegum fodder through-and-through, at least coming from latter-day Saves the Day (the band has remarked that the song may be the poppiest one they've recorded to date,) and takes its strength from strong, catchy musicianship and its innocent nature. Surely not the most creative subject matter, but as Conley sings the chorus of, "And every time I think about you, I get ***ed up, I feel like all the stars are falling inside my heart," empathy wells up from within the listener. Definitely a welcome throwback to the ages of yore for Saves the Day's style, yet also nicely integrated with dark evocation that embroiders the album. However, pop doesn't always work for their formula. Bye Bye Baby is another very poppy track, but feels so much more out of place than its brethren, probably because it was recorded for release on arguably the band's darkest hour, In Reverie. Not only is it much more "happy" than the rest of the tracks, it seems quite shallow when compared to songs like Stay or Radio, both better crafted and more thought-out (in fact, this applies to every song when compared to Bye Bye Baby.)

The lineup shifts in the band, consisting of Glassjaw's own Durijah Lang on the kit and Manuel Carrero on bass, are immediately noticeable on the album. Both rhythm replacements conform to Saves the Day's style quite nicely, but bring some of their own post-hardcore flair to the table. Every track gets a taste, but said flair is exemplified particularly in Under the Boards and Lonely Nights; both are reminiscent less of the band's usual sound, but more along the lines of more archaic Gatsby's American Dream work, or if I should be so bold, Thrice's Vhiessu. "Epic," although a phrase thrown around so much it may replace "emo" as the most annoying misnomer in history, describes both tracks effectively and succinctly. Lonely's piano line is rather simple, but serves its purpose, complementing the raw power around Lang's drumming. The song closes on the same ivories resounding in silence, particularly in absence of their leathery contrapositive. Carrero's silky bass lines weave snugly between the heady guitar and stalwart drumming, adding a mellow, almost lackadaisical layer to the otherwise sharp and dynamic sound. Some may be simple, others rather complex (yet never "gimmicky," like some punk bassists tend to become,) but they always tie the rest of the rhythmic twill together in an almost foreboding blend of frigid pathos and warm grace that seems to wrap up the entire album.

Up until now, my reviews have always been introduced with the flimsy pretense of a "story." Something happens, there's a feeble tie-in to the band or CD, and the tale makes a cameo appearance at the end for a good wrap-up. However, this time I feel no need to add story to what already is being told by the music. Ardent, graphic, and even heart-wrenching at times, Saves the Day manage to communicate through Under the Boards what we have all at one point or another felt at the end of our ropes: the turmoil of finding yourself. Experience after experience knit together in an exotic quilt of emotion, from bright rage and brilliant zeal, to inky distress, drab apathy, and silvery pensiveness. That's what music should be, that's its unattainable golden ring. Something that not only you listen to, but something that envelopes you in its own little world, prompting a delve into your own that cannot be matched by empty sounds alone. It's too bad Saves the Day try a bit too hard to reach for that golden ring here.

Recommended Tracks:
Under the Boards
Get Fucked Up
Kaleidoscope
Lonely Nights
Turning Over in My Tomb

Stream: http://www.myspace.com/savestheday




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user ratings (145)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 27th 2007


4927 Comments


good review, but I can't seem to get into this at all. I was particularly interested in this because of the GlassJAw ties, but obviously I knew it would be a drastically different style.

Serpento
October 27th 2007


2351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's definitely a grower. I originally had this at a 2 because I didn't get the gigantic changes.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2007


15740 Comments


Yessss Im gonna read right now, but I'm just excited at the fact it's a Serp review.

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2007


15740 Comments


Good work, a little choppy at times like when you say the albums marvelous then say the vocals are good but also bad, but still a really solid review.

I can't believe there's meaningful pop punk in the world =O!!This Message Edited On 10.27.07

DaveBum69
October 28th 2007


699 Comments


I love these guys, Can't stay the same didn't do much for me at first but now I love it, This is a grower for sure, I plan on buying this shortly after it comes out


kalkal50
October 28th 2007


2386 Comments


Great review, I really want to get their debut. I'm listening to the myspace stream and I'm intrigued.This Message Edited On 12.08.07

Serpento
October 28th 2007


2351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

They really embraced what the rhythm section brought in, and it blends well with their regular style.

@kalkal: love your dig.

plane
Staff Reviewer
October 28th 2007


6094 Comments


This is consistently better the second time around, but I still don't think I like it all that much.

But yeah, good review.This Message Edited On 10.28.07

descendents1
October 28th 2007


702 Comments


I've found that very few people like this band.

Serpento
October 29th 2007


2351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Aside from them being poppish, I can't see why.

Rating went down a bit, the songs don't feel as good when they're played separately.This Message Edited On 10.29.07

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2007


15740 Comments


Hey Saves The Day, you sent me songs by them, which are good, but not on this album.

EDIT: bump if you couldn't tell.This Message Edited On 11.06.07

stke22
November 8th 2007


37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listened to it today. I couldn't get into it, and no songs stuck out for me except "Radio", "Can't Stay The Same" (I previewed them on their site), and "Kaleidoscope" (funky name). This may change with more listens.

stke22
November 11th 2007


37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Get Fucked Up is freaking catchy with that bass line people will be urged to learn with just one listen. So I tabbed it. :D

Metalikane
November 25th 2007


851 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this. Not a huge fan of StD, but I really like this and more so In Reverie. For which StD fans tend to hate, from my understanding.

powerpop
December 5th 2007


29 Comments


Kind of weak album, there are some stand out tracks though

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
December 5th 2007


4927 Comments


I'm surprised this band isn't popular on sputnik.

PatchworkNeurology
September 4th 2008


352 Comments


Saves the day doing a trilogy?
Still a great cd to sing a long to.

Get Fucked up is soooo catchy.

beav910
February 11th 2010


22 Comments


why o why are they doing concept album's. cant they just write a cd and put it, with some punk influence. and a whiny voice. wtf.

Yotimi
February 11th 2010


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't see your point. But I will agree this is about 100 times worse than their earlier stuff, and I don't have much hope for the next album.

Digging: Chrome Sparks - Goddess

Yotimi
February 11th 2010


6506 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lonely Nights rules though.



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