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This Day & Age - The Bell and the Hammer (Cover Artwork)

This Day & Age

This Day & Age: The Bell and the HammerThe Bell and the Hammer (2006)
One Eleven Records

Reviewer Rating: 4


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

Sometimes bands who record music just as promise-laden as it is mediocre really do evolve as quickly as those invested in them would like. This Day & Age did so, and though their time as a band was relatively brief, they did leave us with three full-lengths. The first, toothless. The second, average.
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Sometimes bands who record music just as promise-laden as it is mediocre really do evolve as quickly as those invested in them would like. This Day & Age did so, and though their time as a band was relatively brief, they did leave us with three full-lengths. The first, toothless. The second, average. The third, beautiful.

Though Always Leave the Ground, the band's sophomore effort, was leaps and bounds beyond Start Over on Monday, their initial offering, I wouldn't have guessed that the group responsible for either one of those records would leave us with The Bell and the Hammer shortly before breaking up.

The record is a subdued but relentless series of cresting sounds...delay and reverb on everything...open strums everywhere. The guitars live and die in their enormous sustain.

It also doesn't entirely wander from the hook-centric, vocal-foregrounded formula the band played at on their earlier releases. It just expands it; makes it large enough to wander into post-rock territory; plays at riffs more blues and straight-rock than anything else; and isn't shy about synthesis and mallet percussion. The lyrics work where they need to, as well.

The record is about as pastiche as you can get with this kind of music, and that's a very good thing. The mixes are busy, but each instrument plays quietly, almost self-conscious. Nothing clashes, but much melts into itself.

The record, when it does stumble, does so in cohesion. It's a long release, and it wanders at times. The last three tracks can feel superfluous. Riffs also change abruptly at times, leaving more of the previous riff to be desired and imbuing the subsequent one with an almost alienating immediacy. It seems as though the band may have been trying to stick to verse-chorus songwriting when something more organic and evolutionary might have worked better.

Or maybe that suggests, in some ways, this is still the brimming-with-potential but less-than-adventurous band that we knew from their previous two releases. If it is though, they've managed to step well outside of their own skin for a few pallid but pleasing moments.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Jimmy Eat World - ClarityDescendents - Cool To Be YouMae - Destination: BeautifulThe Velvet Teen - ElysiumThe Snake The Cross The Crown - Mander SalisJimmy Eat World - FuturesTed Leo and the Pharmacists - Shake The SheetsMae - The EverglowMotion City Soundtrack - Commit This To MemoryThe Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine

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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.
dreux (May 15, 2007)

Re: Retard below me,

For feelings on album, see above review you apparently missed.

Thanks.

SilentStorms (April 27, 2007)

I did not dig this review at all. Stop writing as if you are trying to be smart and review it based on what your heart feels. Damn that sounded gay, but it's still true.

SydBarrett420 (April 26, 2007)

I hope that wasn't directed at me. I mean I heard one song I liked while I left the entire album spinning on winamp while I worked that day.

dreux (April 26, 2007)

Too bad I can't submit another score for people without the patience to listen to an album in its entirety, yet with the apathy requisite to leaving one track they don't even like repeat endlessly on their playlist.

SydBarrett420 (April 26, 2007)

Man the score for this album is way too generous. I heard maybe one song that caught my ear for the 4-5 hours I let it repeat on my playlist. Generic bullshit

historypeats (April 24, 2007)

No way, Scott. I've listened to this album over and over again, and it never gets old. The instruments are layered really nicely, and there isn't a song I'd chuck on the whole thing - some of them run on a little too long, but that's not a big sin when the music's so good. They broke up way before their time, and I'm pissed I never got to see them.

All that said, you really have to be into this kind of music to like them, and there are probably about five readers on this site who do - this band's about as non-punk as you can get.

For those who are interested, even though I like all of the songs, "Always Straight Ahead," "Sara, Poor Sara," and "Of Course We've All Seen the Sun" are probably the best.

maverick (April 24, 2007)

Boring as sin.

-Scott

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