No Harm Done is a band I've known for a little while now, and I've had only the opportunity of hearing their first full length, Proud, and a few demos. Neither of which struck me as much more than a typical, "If they stay together this could be promising" response. Fast-forward to the release of their second album, Our Day of Days, and they have definitely kept their promise.
The album opens with a word from Dwight D. Eisenhower regarding WWII, which is played over a short musical buildup and then quickly launches into a high-energy, in-your-face socio-political outing reminiscent of bands like Strike Anywhere and Good Riddance, with hints of hardcore scattered throughout. This remains the overall approach to each song, barely letting up for a moment with just a few tracks hitting a more mid-tempo and at times poppier stride.
Straight up, every song is craftfully written both musically and lyrically, yet where the record falls short is in allowing their talented parts to shine and are in turn seemingly downplayed by the compromise of everyone's ideas taking place at the same time. Too much is happening, and too much is happening too often. First, there are their Lawrence Arms-like double vocal trade-offs between their guitarist and bassist and even triple vocals at times with their other guitar player, on top of which are the dramatic "whoa"s. Aside from all the heavy vocal duties there's a lot of music going on with guitar harmonies, walking basslines, and crazy tempo changes. All these things are great ideas but they too often create a sloppy experience for the listener. All of this seeming confusion could arguably be a result of the production, but regardless the record comes off sloppier than it should. These guys are good, but sometimes less is more. Underneath all of these musical complexities are very interesting song structures. At first listen they come off a little weird, but I assure you it's an acquired taste as it definitely gives the music a more upbeat and refreshing feel once you get the hang of it. It takes the seemingly mundane aspects of the genre and simply but effectively gives it new life.
Listening through the album I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no need to skip any of the 11 tracks. Each one provides for a very solid listen to the point where even though all the tracks flow together seamlessly, each song could just about stand on their own. In the case of this particular CD though, it is not really a good or bad thing, it just means that there aren't any real standout tracks. Some songs are better than others, but none really grab you any more than another song on the CD.
Setting aside the ages of the musicians, penned well are their lyrics, much better put than many of their musical contemporaries with lines like, "We have eyes, but we can't see / Like working locks with broken keys." It seems that rather than taking specific politics they manage to present conflicts in suggested political situations, relationships, and everyday life while pushing the idea that there is always something worth fighting for.
Central FL's most promising band has kept their promise and really delivered a solid album. For those looking for an aggressive melodic punk band and a reason to fight for something, I encourage you to pick this up. These guys are on the right path and I look forward to what they have in store for themselves and the world.
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