A Day in Black and White - Notes (Cover Artwork)

A Day in Black and White

A Day in Black and White: NotesNotes (2005)
Level Plane Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)

After really sitting down with repeated listens for the album, I've come to a conclusion. Unless you've never heard A Day in Black & White previous to Notes, you have to approach it a very certain way. You must completely forget that this is their third release. Don't acknowledge the split with Blac.

After really sitting down with repeated listens for the album, I've come to a conclusion. Unless you've never heard A Day in Black & White previous to Notes, you have to approach it a very certain way. You must completely forget that this is their third release. Don't acknowledge the split with Black Castle, don't acknowledge My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys, and just start the band on a completely fresh and clean slate.

If you pretend they were never akin to screamo acts like City of Caterpillar, you'll have no qualms at all about digesting this new record, because it's a blast of D.C. post-punk greatness.

A Day in Black & White have just as much energy as ever, it's only now used in different ways. There are no screamed vocals to be found on this record, no epic instrumental passages; what's come in as a replacement are frenetic rhythms, tactfully delivered vocals, and methodical drumming. The band runs a very tight ship, as the chord progressions cascade loudly over Daniel Morse's vocals. His singing style is very deliberate and calculated, and has a much less prominent role this go-round than the instrumentation. The jagged riffing immediately establishes a nature where anything can happen in the music, and the rest of the band has to keep up the pace.

After the ambient noise of the album's first track, things are immediately set into motion by the discordant riffing and pounding drums of "New Energy," a track that exemplifies just that. The instrumental storm doesn't subside for the entire duration, if anything increasing in speed and power with every crash of the bass drum and every slinky bass line. Even when the pace is dramatically slowed, as with the following "A Literal Title," you can feel a great buildup of energy waiting to surge, while the lead guitar wails away over the top of some melodic undercurrents. The contrasts of melody and dissonant riffing work incredibly for the band, because at the base of everything, these songs are dependent on those rhythms. The vocals are perfectly suited for the music, but it starts with the instrumentation. And when even the slower tracks have a definite element of danger, you know a band is doing something correctly. As good as a lot of these tracks are, nothing quite touches "Ronald's Right," which barrels right into some sharply changing chord progressions that lead way into nothing but delicate chord strumming and the pitter-pattering of the snare, until the vocals slowly intensify, crashing back in to the music head over heels. The song goes through several extended stages in only 4-and-a-half-minute's time, finally ceasing under some beautiful harmonics.

No, this isn't the same A Day in Black & White it used to be, but their change has allowed for them to record quite an impressive post-punk record that stays true to D.C.'s storied past. Well done.


People who liked this also liked:
Amanda Woodward - Picture Disc 10 inchPolar Bear Club - The Redder, The BetterMeth and Goats - Attack from Meth and Goats MountainSwarm of the Lotus - The Sirens of SilenceCity Of Caterpillar - City Of CaterpillarDesert City Soundtrack - Perfect AddictionForstella Ford - QuietusArgos Checkmate - Argos CheckmateChad VanGaalen - SkeliconnectionAughra / Mosh Patrol - Is There Anyone Else Outside?

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 13, 2007)

i think he meant that the blood brothers do in fact suck

thurstonXwhore (February 13, 2007)

"Well, at least it's better than that really early demo they had out about 3,000 years ago that sounded way too much like the blood brothers. YUUUUUUUUCK"

And you think the Blood Brothers are good?

Way better than My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys. And if you think otherwise then be happy you don't write music. It's alternative. It's noisy. But most people fail to bring up the fact that the hardcore is in there.

Anonymous (March 13, 2006)

this record is A

SilentStorms (February 20, 2006)

If you want to hear good rock listen to Waxwing and Riddle of Steel. Oh, and Q and Not U.

Anonymous (February 17, 2006)


SilentStorms (February 17, 2006)

Actually I'm 24 and like lots of different stuff. How dare you diss City of Caterpillar. They were great, even if you don't like them. I understand differences in taste, but you can't shit on a band for being good even if they don't fall into your particular genre. Actually I'll just listen to ADIBAW's older stuff, some Envy, some Amanda Woodward, some Gantz, and then some Radiohead just to spite you. Thanks anonymous ... ...

Anonymous (February 16, 2006)

great is not so hot

Anchors (February 16, 2006)

To the kid below me;


Anonymous (February 16, 2006)

who cares city of caterpillar sucks donkey balls. grow up!

Anonymous (February 16, 2006)

lol thats what i was thinking too

ElVaquero (February 16, 2006)

yeah, city of caterpillar is SOOOOO fast.

Anonymous (February 16, 2006)

good review for a good cd and band.
to the guy below me: whats wrong with fast screamo?
i think cty of caterpillar is a good band
what screamo bands do you like?

Anonymous (February 16, 2006)

you are dumb. this record is SO much better. im assuming you are 14 if you like loud fast screamo hardcore crap. the new songs are much more mature and structured. go listen to some shitty city of caterpillar.

SilentStorms (February 16, 2006)

I think their old stuff is waaaaaay better. It was so close to an American Envy. I also saw the video for this album - and it almost put me to sleep. Just because you get slower doesn't make you better. Sure it's more difficult to write structured songs, but this shit is downright boring. But this is post Osker to boredom. Well it's not that bad, but damn they were so good. P.S. post Osker is amazing. Aka Fingers Cut.

fritobandito (February 16, 2006)

I like this album a lot. They played it excellent last time I saw them too.

It's certainly different, but not in a Hot Water Music change (which was very bad), but in a good way. I like both sides of the band a lot.

New Energy is a really, really fun song.

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

Well, at least it's better than that really early demo they had out about 3,000 years ago that sounded way too much like the blood brothers. YUUUUUUUUCK.

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

im glad people are finally realizing how good this record is. there best material by far. good review. great record.

Anonymous (February 15, 2006)

hats off to morse & co. for changing and evolving despite lots of criticism from the screamo crowd for it. i love this band.

xote (February 15, 2006)

This band is just flat out really fucking good... real honest music and thats all there is to it.

ElVaquero (February 14, 2006)

It's going to take me a REALLY long time to accept this record for what it is. But I'm willing to give it a shot.

Anonymous (February 14, 2006)

i just cant get into these guys

Anonymous (February 14, 2006)

I really wanted something akin to "My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys" but once I started listening to this album repeatedly I realized the change was for the best. Good stuff.

sirens (February 14, 2006)

Kurt from Converge produced this too, that kind through me off.

sirens (February 14, 2006)

I bought this album a week or so ago, I knew they "moved on" from their previous style, but god damn what a change, it wasnt really a good or bad change. It's an alright album, it just requires a few spins of What the Fuck, to actaully get into it.

inagreendase (February 14, 2006)

Yeah, some decent DC-ish stuff, gets boring at times though. I'm more interested in their older stuff now from what I've heard.

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