After the dismal aftermath that insued when In Reverie
was released in 2003, and the rumours of the band's departure from the pop-punk music world when the b-sides collection Ups & Downs: Early Recordings And B-Sides
saw the light of day in 2004, it's always refreshing to hear a return as magnificent and beautiful as this. No mistakes here, Saves The Day have clearly spent time creating an album longtime fans would appreciate as much as the new ones they hope to gain with this album. It's a blend of the musicianship and lyrics that got them noticed in the first place, combined with a somehwat gritty production sound that is reminicent of the band's older material. Album openers "Head For The Hills" and "The End" are perfect examples of this. The guitar work in the first song sounds rough, but also fits brilliantly with the band's sound. Whereas in the second song, it's much bassier and less relient on those unorthodox riffs.
Of course, it's not all overdistortion and harsh vocals. "Eulogy" is a taster of what Saves The Day can really do when they want to write slower songs. Their first single is a darker look at the band though, with lyrics such as "Iíd cave out my lungs and it's all just to see you again/Iím sick in my gut from the poison I drank to forget". That's a constant theme on this album, and as cliche as it might sound, Saves The Day are as emotional as they come with pop-punk. It's sometimes hard to listen to as well. Tracks like "Hell Is Here", probably the most disturbing song on the album in my opinion, include some of the most disturbing lyrics I've heard. "But I donít know why/Everyone you know will someday die" just freaks me out a lot when I listen to that song, an obvious look at the self-destruction of human society. And yet, it ends so calmly on a single, clean strum. It's this improvement that I think Saves The Day have made, in that they have learnt how to write slower and more lyric-based songs better than before. Just listen to "Shattered" and read the lyrics. I won't post any up here, because almost all the song is made up of some sort of violence. But it's slightly disturbing, and the fact that I have listened to that song again and again, and I know the lyrics, must mean something.
Don't worry though if you are thinking you will end up crying yourself to sleep when listening to this CD. I'd say that's far from the truth, unless you are actually affected by lyrics that much. In which case, you should know better than to listen to Saves The Day. There are a lot of songs on this album that you can just dance to. The variety is perfectly within the band's boundries, as to not make the listener worried they are listening to someone else. Take "Dying Day", one of my favourites, a perfect bop-along song with cathcy lyrics and a simple structure. It might not be too original, but they certain have pulled it off well. "Delusional" is another good examples, which combines their talent of writing very expressive lyrics with an upbeat pop-punk melody, and I think that helps visualize the lyrics better. "Drag me out and hang me from the trees/Upside down and leave me to die alone" is just another taster of what vocalist/guitarist Chris Conley sings every day. Like I said before, the lyrics in this album are not for the faint of heart. They aren't sugar-coated with metaphors and funny one-liners a lot of bands use to help us remember them. These are straight to the point, and are usually very upsetting. Chris' vocals are another strongpoint of the album. Powerful and not too clean, they fits Saves The Day's hardcore pop-punk style to perfection, and you can hear how genuinely he feels about every word he sings on this album. Without Chris, I don't think this band would be half as good as they are now.
The album in it's entirety is only 35 minutes long, but don't let that bother you since this album is one you can stick on repeat again and again. There are some songs I have listened to this on repeat for over and over, just to hear them again. This is definately not Saves The Day's best work, a spot best reserved for Stay What You Are
in my opinion. But dammit they've tried their hardest to replicate the success of that album here. Sound The Alarm
is jam-packed with downright depressing pop-punk that will stick in your head for days. It doesn't sound as polished as most pop-punk albums nowadays, and it certainly isn't as safe, with lots of riffs and lyrics taking risks with the listener. But those risks paid off with me, reassuring me that Saves The Day is truely not dead and dusted, and I think most pop-punk fans owe it to themselves to pick up this album. Whether you were behind them throughout the beginning of their career, or you just heard their name uttered on a message board, this band are one of the most well-known in the pop-punk scene, and this album is yet more proof of why that is.
"Head For The Hills"
"Hell Is Here"
[url]http://www.myspace.com/savestheday[/url] (Songs from review: "The End", "Shattered")