Review Summary: Jar is a successful demonstration of the progression of Daylight as a band. With emblematic lyrically content, well-crafted vocal harmonies, and brilliant production, Jar is the gem of Daylight's catalog thus far.
Cathartically channeling grunge-god predecessors such as Nirvana
, and Seaweed
, Daylight's Jar begins with the heavy 4/4 drumming assault of the opening track, Sponge. Sponge adequately sets the tone for the rest of the record: a conglomeration of confusion, angst, frustration, despondence, giving in, giving up. The five stages of death immediately come to mind. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. It appears that Taylor Madison, primary frontman and lyricist (alongside Jacob Clarke) of Daylight, passed the denial stage with previous Daylight records, exemplified on 2009's Sinking where he desperately laments, "My life ain't what it used to be / I'm out here suffering" and "I can't be here / You can't trust me." Anger is prevalent throughout the entire Daylight catalog, especially in 2012's The Difference in Good & Bad Dreams: "I don't blame you, but I blame someone / I'm still stuck here." That anger that Madison can't shake definitely lingers onto Jar.
The bargaining is subtle, but as you listen, you can here. Anybody with ears can hear the bargaining plea of Last October where Madison sings, "I'm scared, I'm helpless, I'm shaking, I'm weak / My bones, I feel them breaking / I'm tired of losing against me." Clarke lends his 2 cents on the lead single off the record, In On It: "Could I be imagining worse things" / Take me for granted and sin / I'll be in on it," implying a grievous one-sided exchange where Clarke comes up empty-handed. The entire record stems from depression; it is no secret. Like Daylight's entire discography, untreated depression manifests itself in every line, every chord. It seems as though Daylight is the only method by which Clarke and Madison have to cope. Acceptance is still open-ended, yet the denouement of the record is conclusive. "I would gladly die / I would give my life to ease the pain." It doesn't leave much to the imagination, very reminiscent of Daylight's prior offerings.
Burial is an underlying lyrical theme of Jar. The first line of the record is vivid imagery of Madison's head buried in his backyard. The proceeding song, Life in a Jar, opens with a similar line: "I live in harmony with worms / Underneath the dirt and the soil" with a hook that has Madison practically begging for that to become his permanent home. The burial theme is most prominent in Jar's hidden gem, Hole In The Ground, a beautiful bone-chilling track beginning with guitar chords that reflect Madison's demeanor. It is accompanied by strings that fit the track like a glove. The song, addressed to a general "Mother," explicitly illustrates a difficult struggle both internal (within Madison) and external (between him and Mother). The track contains subtextual undertones including, but not limited to, an uneven distribution of responsibility, a lack of commitment, and unfulfilled wishes. These three abstract ideas can be directly applied to the five stages of death divulged upon above.
Everything one would want to know about this record can be summed up in a line from the short track eight, Knew: "You opened up a wound / You should open up your ears."