Days N Daze - Show Me The Blue Prints (Cover Artwork)

Days N Daze

Show Me The Blue Prints (2020)

Fat Wreck Chords

For anyone familiar with my listening habits, it's no surprise that I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of this album. I’ve seen DnD at least three times since most of the tracks were recorded, so I had heard of a few newer songs live, but it’s hard to really get a feel for a song without hearing how the band intended it to be heard: a song in its perfect form. I’ve listened to the album about seven times, as of this writing, and the anxiety has turned into pure pleasure. I literally cannot stop listening to this album!

It starts with a true banger, and one of my favorite tracks on the album “Flurry Rush”. The song starts in an unusual way, for a DnD song, with almost optimism. Jesse Sendejas sings about wanting to be better, and for the first time in one of his writings, you feel the optimism, as opposed to his normal bleak outlook. But don’t worry, he switches it right back to the bleak by the second half, with his normal existential exploration into what life really means, or doesn’t. From the lyrics “So, we’ll have to / Wipe the sweat from our brows / Tears from our eyes / Booze from our mouths / I know shits going south / But we got this / as long as we don’t cave” to “Maybe we're fucked / Maybe we’re born to die / And all shit out of luck / Plus, it does feel a bit narcissistic / To deny our existence / Is an accident congealed from the dust”, the listener is quickly transported from the facade that the band had moved from their outlook of desperation for change and near hatred for the state of the world, right back to the comfort zone that echos the thoughts, especially in this new trying time, of the most of the world.

The band quickly slows things down, and gives Whitney Flynn her first opportunity to take the reigns, which is one of the most amazing things about the band: the duality between the singers whilst simultaneously remaining one focused unit. It’s clear by the end of this track that there exists a recurring theme that lines the pathway for the album, which seems to be that the two songwriters have grown, matured, started sobering up from years of partying, yet their outlook on the world remains fatalistic. All too often, a band maturing creates rifts in the records that they release, either changing the sound, or the general message of the lyrics, but both Whitney and Jesse seem to have both grown, while holding onto their sound and message, for the most part. The theme of recovery carries over into “LibriYum”, “Saboteurs”, “Add Vice”, and the first single “My Darling Dopamine”.

Upon second listen through the album, I found myself wanting to hit replay on the fourth track “Saboteurs”, which tells the story of two different trips that were taken where Jesse seems to have identified that his problems with identity, alcohol, and mental health prevented him from truly obtaining the full experience that could have been obtained. The group describes the feelings of looking back on his times visiting Alaska, in all of its natural wonder, or spending time with his family in Lake Tahoe, “A place we’d been when I was younger / All the memories are golden”. The flashback like verses allow for a light bulb to go off in the final words of the song, where it seems he has accepted that he is his own worst enemy, and these unfortunate misses from the past can only be prevented if the singer acknowledges and adjusts his own life choices.

“Add Vice” might sound familiar to anyone who is a fan of Jesse’s side project Escape from the Zoo, though it is quite a different take than the original version. Unlike DnD/Escape from the Zoo’s last shared song “Saturday Night Palsy”, where I enjoyed the EFTZ version, I find that “Add Vice” is a clever take on EFTZ’s “Crack Pipe”, and while I generally love Veronica’s vocals on EFTZ tracks, it was a refreshing change to have Whitney singing a duet version of the song, backed with dueling trumpets from El Jefe and Whitney, to make the song feel… complete. I can’t find another word to describe it, but it was fantastic.

All told, the album is a beautiful piece of modern folk punk. The dueling vocalists, the trumpets, the guitar, the guest mandolin, the washboard, the melodies, and most impressively, the lyrics, show a band that has grown from the teenagers who put out We Never Said It was Good who are now here showing the world that they’re ready to conquer the world in Show me the Blue Prints. I’m not shocked at all that Fat Wreck Chords decided to pick these folks up, and based solely on the recording quality of the album, I am so glad that they did, as the album glistens with perfection that some of their earlier records could not obtain. While the DIY records will always be held dear to me, this record puts them in a new class of bands, and I’m very excited to see where it takes them.

P.S. In true Fat fashion, stay tuned after the last track for a very fun bonus track. Maybe it lacks all of the maturity that I have complimented the band in showing, but damn if it isn’t a fun time!