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Under the Boards

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Album Review

Under the Boards is the second in a trilogy of albums that Saves the Day has billed to be a "story of self-discovery." 2006's Sound the Alarm was the aggressive and urgent pop-punk most fans expected and ultimately demanded, a record of discontent and unchecked energy. Under the Boards — with a solemn night sky adorning the album's cover — appears as the counterpart to that restlessness, a record that is quieter, more pensive, and more sorrowful. This is an album of reflection, so much so that even the faster tracks revolve around little more than tight rhythms, remorse, and emotions of the bitter kind. The opening title track sounds eerily like Chris Conley channeling Muse (much like Matchbook Romance did on their 2006 album Voices), where a lonely guitar barely supports his despondent croon before the band comes in full force behind him, growing dramatically to round out the dark mood surrounding his naked voice. Saves the Day manage to balance out all of their emotional musings with strong pop songs, however, ensuring that Under the Boards doesn't sink beneath the weight of all the band's soul searching. So for every woefully solemn "Stay" and "Turning Over in My Tomb," there is the bouncy "Radio," the even brighter "Can't Stay the Same," and the "That Thing You Do" vibe of "Bye Bye Baby." Yet as was stated before, even the songs with a slight skip in their step deal overwhelmingly with loneliness and pain, which keeps the record always well within rainy day terrain. It makes for a cohesive album, and one where Conley's voice is so strong and clear throughout, the production so clean and uncluttered, that it all washes down smooth and effortlessly. It may take multiple spins for a few songs to really find their footing with fans, but those people will surely be rewarded handsomely in the end, most likely finding this album the one they reach for immediately on those nights where nothing sounds better than just sitting in a room alone, dwelling on anything and everything — and accompanied by a great soundtrack.

Customer Reviews

A solid and above-average indie rock album

As a long time fan of Saves The Day, I understand that any post-Stay What You Are work can fall under "love" or "hate". If you're looking for the poppy hooks of Stay What You Are or the faster edgier Can't Slow down, you might be disappointed. Somehow Chris's voice has become a little more nasaly than his teen years. . . But that hadn't stopped me from enjoying Under the Boards.

This album falls right in line with Sound The Alarm. With Chris on guitar and members of Glassjaw taking on duties of the rhythm section, this album leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to arrangements and musicianship. The sounds of this album have finally caught up with Conley's morose and depressed lyrical content. That's not to say there aren't pop indie singles mixed in either. Still catchy, more introspective and deeper than ever, this album is best heard with and open mind and a clear, full sound system. As always, Saves the Day has hit the spot when it comes to tone and mixing. For me, Under The Boards lands in second place just short of Through Being Cool.

Are you nuts?

I've heard people say they don't care for this album. I as a musician find it compelling. Chris really has a way with words and weaving them around some of the progressions and keeping them catchy is phenomenal. If you didn't like it, you weren't r dally listening and absorbing.

I hate your voice

Please, please, please Chris... just sing normal again. I can't stand your shrill, nasily delivery. I love your lyrics and arangements and keep hoping to fall in love with an album of yours, but your voice sounds terrible. You sounded great before In Reverie. You just sang! It was great! Your voice was deeper and it was beautiful before you decided to go nasaly and whiney. Is that why Dave and the boys ditched you?


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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