To quote the wonderful 50 Cent, I love this like a fat kid love cake. As you all probably already know, over a year ago Boy Sets Fire made the eye-opening
switch to Wind-Up Records, home of Creed and Finger Eleven. I think that a decent
amount of their past fans lost a bit of respect for them at that point, but I decided to let the
music do the talking, and judge from there. Their EP, Live For Today showed us
a new, more polished Boy Sets Fire, more mature and structurally-aware than ever before.
The songs on it were top-notch though, and erased any doubt that this band had "sold
out". Two of the studio recordings from it, "Release The Dogs" and "Bathory's
Sainthood" appear on this album, as well as a new studio recording of "Handful Of
Redemption", a song that appeared as a live track on the EP. That being said, my
expectations for this CD were high, especially considering how good I know they can be
(see: The Day The Sun Went Out or After The Eulogy, my favorite CD of
all time), and how tight their newer recordings and live show are (hint: see them
The first thing I noticed upon listening to this CD was the level of maturity that BSF has
reached. The songs are now more structured than ever before, but never boring. The new
tracks make songs from After The Eulogy look almost amateur-ish. Yes, the riffs
aren't as heavy or technical, but they've been replaced by tighter, catchier guitar pieces
and bridges. I also noticed how much better lead vocalist Nathan Gray sounds. His work
on past albums has put him into the category of one of the best lead vocalists I've ever
heard, but on this latest effort, it's almost insane how much better he sounds, especially
when you thought he was at his peak. There is also a major increase in the amount of
back-up vocals by guitarist Chad Istvan. It allows for a good amount of harmonizing in all
the right places, giving the album extra depth where old BSF music previously lacked.
The lyrics are still very politically-charged, with topics ranging from the government, to
the economy, to the impending war with Iraq. To call this CD a political statement would
be an understatement. After a few full listens, I wouldn't call Tomorrow Come
Today as good as After The Eulogy, but it strongly rivals it.
Boy Sets Fire has a knack for opening their albums with major ass-kickers or songs.
Tomorrow Comes Today follows suit, with "Eviction Article", which pretty much
rips shit up. It's definitely the most intense song on the CD, with a nasty screaming
breakdown and very politically-aware lyrics ( "The blood is on your hands - like
stealing motherfuckers - the constitution burns - to ash in front of you - the people know -
what you are up to - your sins will come back on you"). "Last Year's Nest" was a
song that the boys started playing live over a year ago. It sounded great then, and it
sounds even better now. The piano bridge and soaring vocals make this one of the top
three songs on the CD. "Full Color Guilt" is the first step into the melody of Boy Sets
Fire, with excellent harmonizing between Nathan and Chad in the chorus. The
aforementioned "Bathory's Sainthood", from Live For Today, is the same version
that appeared on the EP, which disappoints me a little bit, but it is forgivable. If you
haven't heard it already, it starts with an almost Tool-esque bass riff, and has the anthemic
lyric "Do we really want - do we really need - a bastard messiah?" "Dying On
Principle" brings back the rock with excellent drumming by Matt Krupanski, but it is one
of the weaker tracks on the CD. One of the live tracks on Live For Today,
"Handful Of Redemption" is good, and terribly catchy, but it is much, much better live.
"Release The Dogs" is another ass-kicker, and very September 11th-influenced. It is a
crowd favorite when played live. "Foundations To Burn" is lost in the flood somehow.
Don't get me wrong, it's a good song, but just not as good as previous tracks.
Track nine, "Management Vs. Labor", is probably my favorite song on this album. It is
very bass-heavy, and the last minute of this song is absolutely brilliant. I would say that
this one minute alone really solidifies the fact that Boy Sets Fire is the most vocally sound
band currently in existence. The next two tracks, "High Wire Escape Artist" and "White
Wedding Dress" are decent and painfully mediocre, respectively. The former has a good
breakdown, but nothing stands out on "White Wedding Dress". It almost seems filler,
which is disappointing, because the band played this song at live shows over a year and a
half ago. The final track, "On In Five", is actually two tracks in one, with the hidden
"With Every Intention" starting about two minutes after "On In Five" ends. "On In Five"
is very reminiscent of "The Force Majeure" from After The Eulogy in the sense
that both songs have pretty similar riffs and screams, only "On In Five" adds some singing
to the mix. "With Every Intention" is a totally different story, however. Why this song
wasn't given its own track is beyond me, because it sure deserves it. It is by far BSF's
softest song to date, and it is this album's "My Life In The Knife Trade". The vocal work
on this track is absolutely outstanding, dare I say orgasmic. You'd think I was
exaggerating, but it's really that damn good. It is a great way to close out a great
While this album does have it's weaker moments, the strong moments more than outweigh
them. While the tracks on this CD are outstanding, I'd bet my money on the fact that they
are probably ten times better when played live. It's just extra incentive to go see them
when they come around to your town. As far as I can see, you'd be hard pressed to find a
better band with a tighter sound. As of right now, this is my album of 2003.
"Last Year's Nest"
"Management Vs. Labor"
"With Every Intention"