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Sound the Alarm

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Album Review

After somewhat alienating fans by flexing their indie rock muscles on 2003's In Reverie, it seems that Saves the Day want to reclaim their stake to the emocore throne. Whether or not a conscious reaction to the mixed response of their last (though admittedly solid) album, Sound the Alarm harks back to the aggressive pop-punk nature of their Through Being Cool days, but ya know, five years more mature. Chris Conley's voice is as distinctive as ever — walking that fine line between endearing and annoying — but somehow now invokes a slight likeness to Our Lady Peace's Raine Maida mixed with a Sid Vicious-esque sneer. "Head for the Hills" sufficiently sets both the cynical mood and quick pace for the album ahead with its thick, understated bassline and punchy disposition that fiercely proclaims "And if I die tonight and go to Hell/I wonder will I see you?" As such, Saves the Day certainly haven't lost their knack for crafting the perfect singalong pop song for bitterness and heartache altogether presented in a gleaming package. Morbid, often bloody, imagery is still present amidst emotive lines ("I'll cut out my throat and I'll eat it raw/And drown in the blood as it fills my lungs"); thus one advantage is revealed to having a hand in defining a genre — the gory lines come off as clever instead of clichéd and annoying. And while bouncy numbers like "The End," "Bones," and "Dying Day" show Saves the Day re-creating what they do best, the unhurried backdrop of the compelling "Don't Know Why" and "Sound the Alarm" are affecting songs that should grow on listeners to lasting satisfaction. While Sound the Alarm is enjoyable enough, it still doesn't reach the level of excellence reached on Stay What You Are. The latter album had more diversity and memorable moments than Sound the Alarm's 13 tracks put together. With hopes set too high for an emo masterpiece that somehow blended In Reverie's pensive experimentation and Stay What You Are's sparkling nature on a pop-punk canvas, Sound the Alarm is ultimately just another good Saves the Day record. But hey, what's really wrong with that?


Formed: 1994 in Princeton, NJ

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Perfecting their power pop rock since the mid-'90s, New Jersey's Saves the Day call it like it is. They refrain from characteristic pogo-bouncing anthems for their own quirky post-punk and energetic live shows, influencing a new school of emo/punk bands along the way. The first incarnation of Saves the Day happened when singer/songwriter Chris Conley was only 13, and the band was first called Indifference and, later, Seffler. A name change to their current moniker, taken from a lyric from the Farside...
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