Tuesday, 4 October 2011

New Artist Alert: These Days

That this band share their name with my favourite Bon Jovi album has no bearing on my wanting to share them with you...honest. I don't think there's much more correlation to draw from anyway, so I'll lay that to rest now (on a bed of roses perhaps?) and get on with this feature. This quartet from Salisbury are set to launch their six-track mini album titled 'Hope and Glory' of which I've reviewed a few tracks from below. The guys 'take inspiration from the likes of Foo Fighters and Brand New; These Days have an exciting and different outlook on music'. I'm excited to hear what this rock/pop/punk outfit can bring to the table...

Glory/ A much calmer introduction to the CD than I expected considering the band's influences and pop-punk description. Glory starts life as a soothing, almost folk-tinged track, gaining momentum as the drums hope to pull it from its Mumford & Sons' clutches whilst melodic guitars and quintessential vocals stake their claim and dig in their heels. The track has a progressive feel to it as the mix is enriched with a growing musical spectrum and a really refreshing sound. Just past the one minute mark the track kicks in with a strong and epic-sounding chorus before dipping, showcasing the great-sounding vocals and imaginative backing harmonies. There's a fantastic guitar riff that kicks in, lifting the track many miles away from it's roots a mere two minutes ago but it's been such a progressive and cleverly crafted journey that nothing is out of place. A fabulous start.

Always/ Is it too much of a coincidence that the band share another Bon Jovi song title? I'm certain this won't be a cover (and for the sake of the review, will stop with the references now!). An edgier second track kicks in, the vocals reminding me of the All American Rejects before a short pre-chorus introudces a half-time feel that texturally allows the track to grow. The vocals take on a more Gerard Way sound here, or at least some of the melodies remind me of him, as frantic drums and guitar work take over as the second verse enters. The snare strokes on the drums are perhaps a little overkill every bar, it may have been more effective every two or perhaps even every four as it creates quite a busy sound., but the impact of the half-time second chorus is heightened by this. The subtle backing vocals add a lot to the track, and the breakdown section really allows for the rhythm section to step into the limelight as winding guitar works away in the background. More vocals enrich this section before the last double chorus kicks in, the latter making the leap to a double-time feel which is a great touch, before a very abrupt and unexpected end.

Misery/ I love the sound of this as the track starts off with everyone all-in; the drums really fight for centre stage against the dual-layered lead-vocals with a great tom-driven beat topped with uplifting hits on the bell of the ride. The vocals eventually stride on ahead in the final straight as an interesting and chunky chord progression highlights the changing section before the chorus comes around in almost two parts (unless I've misread the specific sections). I love the minor-sounding first-half of the chorus (or extended pre-chorus!) as the vocals stick close to the home key, always threatening to leap up into the next octave. It's a lovely interval, as they eventually leap a fifth above (tonic to dominant; a winning formula!) which creates a really uplifting section against the same interesting chord progression that was featured before; listen out for the ingenious second chord that adds a real alternative touch. I'm not sure how much thought has gone into the arrangement of the track but either way the effect on the listener is perfect. Suddenly a punky-section kicks in and I've realised that this band are the masters in really mixing up the theme of a track, dipping in and out of many different sub-genres whilst maintaining an over-riding feel. It's a great asset they hold and they pull it off perfectly.

I've genuinely enjoyed listening to a really refreshing sound that thinks outside the box and really pushes the pop-punk boundaries in a way that can keep the genre alive. To think this EP started off with a Mumford-esque feel, only to morph seemlessly into a MCR drive really pays a compliment to the song-writing abilities of this band and I hope they are the pioneering force to be reckoned with. As the 'same old' pop-punk genre threatens to die out a boring and drawn-out death, finally someone is taking it upon themselves to help give birth to its sister genre and, lest we forget, every genre of music we listen to once started life as something very different. I urge you to check out These Days on Facebook and either get yourselves a copy of the mini-album or catch them live. Brilliant stuff.

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Thanks for taking the time to write :)