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Daybreak

Saves the Day

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Album Review

Saves the Day complete their self-discovery-themed trilogy — preceded by 2006’s provocative Sound the Alarm and the quieter Under the Boards a year later — with Daybreak. Whether by design or due to the intervening years and lineup changes, Daybreak sets itself apart from the rest of the trilogy with its sense of optimism and simultaneously forward- and backward-looking perspective. The album starts on an epic note, with a ten-minute, five-part opening track in the contemporary rock opera vein of Green Day’s American Idiot, revisiting various points in Saves the Day's career ("Somehow You Love Me" offers guitar work that would fit alongside In Reverie, and "F***** Up Past the Point of Fixing" serves up Sound the Alarm-era angst) as well as showing the band stepping outside of their box (the chiming guitar and subtle electronics of "8 AM" are reminiscent of the Dismemberment Plan’s Emergency & I). This concept carries through the rest of Daybreak, showing the band at their most mature — the last half of the album takes a more straight-ahead alt-rock turn than they’ve previously approached — and embracing experimentation. This experimentation is best executed with "Chameleon," in which Latin-tinged guitar and free-flowing keyboard mingle with Chris Conley’s tried-and-true boyish vocals and yearning lyrics. But lest longtime fans be left longing for their emocore roots, tracks like the bouncy "Let It All Go" step in to fill that need. Daybreak is successful on two levels: in the way it touches on the best elements of Saves the Day's past works, it’s a welcome entry point for new listeners; and with its freshness, it assures established fans that the band is still invigorated after going at it for over a decade.

Biography

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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