Saves The Day – Saves The Day
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Record Label: Equal Vision/Rory
After exploring the depths of darkness in his mind and life the past 6 years, it finally feels like Chris Conley is getting back to “normal.” And I put quotations around that word because, like, there was never anything wrong with him or the music, per se, but after all the anger (Sound The Alarm), tragedy (Under The Boards), and eventual catharsis (Daybreak) of the so-called trilogy, it’s nice to hear his band, Saves The Day, sort of get back to its roots (the band is back on Equal Vision, which thrills the 14 year old in me!) with its latest self-titled installment. In fact, the band, especially Conley, sound reinvigorated on Saves The Day.
It just feels right that the band’s eighth full-length is releasing nearly ten years after In Reverie first hit stereos, as Saves The Day feels like the proper follow-up to that record. There’s a breezy, somewhat care-free demeanor throughout Saves The Day that’s reminiscent of In Reverie’s writing style, with the power-pop glory of opening track “Remember” leading the way. It’s a stark opposite to the type of songs that have been on the previous few releases. The hook on “In The In Between” is classic Conley, while “Beyond All of Time” is the type of pop-punk ballad the band has always been great at pulling off.
Throughout Saves The Day, it’s evident how having that metaphorical weight and pressure of the trilogy concept lifted from Conley’s shoulders has enabled the free-flowing nature of the album’s songwriting. There’s a spark in his voice and rhythmic bounce that hasn’t been heard on a Saves The Day record in a while. Conley is having fun again and it shows in songs like triumphant “The Tide of Our Times” and the clever “Xenophobic Blind Left Hook,” showing Conley hasn’t lost his knack for impressive lyrical wordplay. Guitarist Arun Bali is also on point, as his crunchy lead riff paces the energetic “Ain’t No Kind Of Love,” while old drummer Claudio Rivera (now in Motion City Soundtrack, he was replaced by Dennis Wilson) makes his presence felt on each of the album’s eleven tracks, knowing when to let it all hang out (“In The In Between”) and when to show restraint (“Beyond All of Time”).
However, it’s the second half of the album that places Saves The Day in the upper echelon of the band’s discography. Conley again delivers on the lyrical front with the slow-burning “Supernova,” as the imagery and metaphors are woven intricately within the song’s texture. “Verona” showcases some edge as Bali unleashes a seething riff over Rivera's frenetic drum fills. But it all leads up to the final track on Saves The Day, the euphoric closer “Stand In the Stars,” which may end up as one of the ten best songs in Saves The Day’s career. The bouncy guitar chords, the sunny disposition in Conley’s voice, and the general optimism throughout makes it feel like this is a song Conley has been itching to write the last ten years, only the time and/or place wasn’t right. It’s reminiscent to classic Save The Day closers’ “Firefly” and “Tomorrow Too Late” and will absolutely go down as a fan favorite.
You may or may not have noticed the giant grapefruit on the cover of Saves The Day. At first, it may seem like a puzzling image to put on the cover of a pop-punk album (although we have seen worse) until you remember that the redder varieties of the fruit tend to be the sweetest. And just over 30 minutes long, Saves The Day is the perfect treat for your ears. This is the most confident Chris Conley has sounded on a Saves The Day record in nearly ten years. Saves The Day is another feather in the cap known as the band's illustrious career, marking the return of the band we all fell in love with many years ago while successfully beginning the next phase of the band’s career.