Daycare Swindlers - Readiate (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Daycare Swindlers

Readiate (2015)

Say-10 Records

One of the greatest faults that can be placed on any musical release, is overthinking what you're doing. This isn't to say that complex music doesn't have its place, I certainly enjoy Radiohead and Mars Volta. But, rather to say that when a band takes an idea and develops it beyond the threshold it can exist in. Which is what I found when I listened to Reradiate, the latest release by Fairfax, Virginia's ska-punk veterans Daycare Swindlers.

The first track, “About a Girl,” held some promise. Musically it brought back memories of my high school days when these guys showed up on at least a couple mix discs that I put together. And the rough around the edges ska-tinged punk took me back there. However the lyrics kept me there, which is to say the band is still trying to appeal to that demographic of fans. Which is a problem, because when you're in high school and listening to people in their twenties sing songs about their lives the age gap is there … but it certainly isn't as significant. Hearing people in their mid to late thirties still trying to make that same connection, on a topical level, can be cringe worthy at times. This isn't to say maturity is a necessity, I still find Blink-182's “Family Reunion” entertaining. But, the band grew beyond that and moved onto topics and lyrical content reflective of the life experiences they've had since that song was released. You get the definite feeling that Daycare Swindlers are still stuck in the same place they were twenty years ago when you listen to this song. Writing songs about girls and relationships will never go away, but the way the topic is handled here makes me feel like these are the guys you'd catch smoking under the stands at a football game on Friday night. Only now, they're 15 or 20 years out of high school and still trying to hang out with people young enough to be their kids.

What makes this an even more confusing dichotomy, is the very next track on the album called “Telephone.” The lyrics take aim at a generation that is largely more attached to electronic devices than the generation that preceded it. Which is certainly a fair critique of the millennial generation, especially younger ones. That being said, the lyrics approach it like an old man railing on about kids these days. While there are certainly a number of ways to approach this topic, from the narcissism of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like to a the social disconnect of a generation that is constantly trying to stay connected, you don't get that. You just get the feeling that the band has an issue with those damn kids and their phones … in my day we didn't act like that. Which is odd coming from a band that just one track ago was singing about girls like they were still in high school.

The biggest misstep the band makes throughout this album though, is trying to expand what would have function perfectly as a two to two and a half minute punk song into a three minute plus punk song. This isn't to say the band couldn't write songs this length, it just felt like the songs ended up that long because they wanted to add more when it wasn't needed. Unfortunately for the band, they do this on nearly half the songs on the album. In nearly all instances, I found myself checking how much longer the song was by around two and a half minutes.

When the band keeps it short and simple though it tends to work for them. This is no more apparent than on “Page Full of Names” which clocks in at just a minute and 16 seconds. It also takes a more straight ahead approach by sticking to more traditional punk music. I actually found myself revisiting this one each time I listened to the album, and even returned to it a few times when I was driving around listening to music.

All in all, the biggest fault this album has is there's just too much there. The songs that go on too long, go on far too long and grasp at reasons to do so. In addition to that, the sixteen tracks on this pad the album with what ends up amounting to nothing more than filler. Take the best six or seven tracks from this, and you've got a fairly solid EP. But, the overly long songs and amount of filler on this album just make the album a rather arduous listen.