Carly's Day Out - The Past Is Behind Us (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Carly's Day Out

The Past Is Behind Us (2001)

Broken Down

Third Generation Mafia.

To most, those three words mean nothing. To me, they they represent a band that represented my formative teenage years. Steve's raucous guitar playing. PJ's distinctive vocals. Tim's heart pounding drumming. I don't know when they formed. I can't recall the first time I saw them. I do remember buying their three tapes over the span of a few years. I played each one over and over until I knew all the lyrics and all the drumbeats to these pop-punk gems.
I remember hearing the wonderful news that their drummer had quit, and they were looking for someone new. Of course, I never got up the nerve to call and set up an audition, and the spot went to my drumming arch-nemesis, Jon Marks. He might not know it, but I despise him. Regardless, I still supported the band and their new material.
I remember rejoicing when they finally released their CD, containing all three tapes plus 5 new songs. I bought it at my local record store the very first day it was available. It was pure bliss to my pop-punk craving ears.
I remember going to the band's final show, in the spring of 1998. Their guitar player, Steve, was moving away, or going off to college, or something, the details weren't too clear. What mattered was one of my favorite bands was breaking up. Sure, they might not have toured the country, or sold a million records or even had much of a fanbase outside of my hometown, but they still helped me grow up, and I was certainly sad to see them go. Then I heard about Carly's Day Out.

A few months had passed since the demise of the Mafia, when my old band, Outlander, landed a gig with a band called Carly's Day Out in October of 1998. I found out that PJ, the Mafia's old bassist, was now playing guitar in a new band, called Carly's Day Out. This was almost a subconscious slap to the face from PJ to me. Even though PJ had no idea how much his former band meant to me, and how much I wanted to play with him, it still hurt. To add to the insult, their new drummer's name was Steve [as with my name, they were both 5 letters, both starting with the letter S], he was fat [so am I], and he played drums left-handed [I'm pretty sure I'm the only drummer besides him to do that in town]. It was like a carbon copy of me up there. Totally unfair. I listened to their set anyways, and whether I was just bitter or they were still pretty sloppy, I didn't enjoy them too much. I wrote them off as a Third Generation Mafia ripoff band. How this somehow became an insult in my mind was beyond me, seeing as how only 3 months earlier I worshipped Third Generation Mafia. Go figure.

As time went on, I ended up booking CDO some shows, attending many of their other shows, and just shooting the shit with them. Little did I know that they had slowly begun to grow on me. Their sound had also started to mature from their simplistic pop-punk of yesteryear, making them a staple in the local scene. It seemed like it was impossible to book a show in town without booking Carly's Day Out because A) they drew kids and B) they were just damn good. After seeing them progress from their rough demos, I was looking forward to getting their new material on recording. Their "Banister" EP last year hinted at what was to come, but with "The Past Is Behind Us," Carly's Day Out has gotten serious.

The album kicks off with "Now What Happened," a minute long punk rock waltz, quick and loud enough to get you pumped for the remainder of the album.
"Line C" is next, starting with a neat harmonic bassline which continues through the majority of the song. This uptempo number is an immediate standout, with it's half-screamed vocals, it's instrumental breakdown, and the aforementioned cool bassline.
"Shapeshifter" follows with another 6/8 feel, but is able to distuingish itself from the first track with low-fi vocals coupled with some rollicking drums.
Batting cleanup is "September's When We Met," and it certainly doesn't let the team down. This song rocks right out of the gate, with so-cheesy-it's-cool metal guitar intro, and it's headbanging beats.
"Complaint Department" comes next, and it has a kind of evil, Alkaline Trio vibe attached to it, along with it's "Old man, it's time to die" chorus. Very creepy.
"Countdown" is another standout, with PJ telling a story about a very bad breakup, or so it sounds. Very melodic, yet dissonant, and it's pulled off really well.
"Strictly Bidness" injects a dose of humor into the record, mocking the punk image with the chorus of "We're young, we're punk, we don't give a fuck." This song makes me laugh every time I hear it.
"Diamond Ice" keeps up with the rest of the record's catchiness, with a great guitar solo to boot. This song is as close to a throwback to Third Generation Mafia as it gets, but still is refined.
"Five Days Ago" also harkens back to PJ's old Mafia days, being just a straight ahead, two minute, pop punk song. Sometimes things don't have to be complicated to sound good.
"Song For Brian" sounds about as punk rock as a love song can get. Good times.
The album starts to wind down with "Missed Opportunity," but don't tell the band that. This is one of the most energetic songs on the album, packed to the brim with hooks.
The album closes with "Goodnight Princess," the one song I have been itching to get on recording somehow since I first heard it back in January. This song has so much feeling to it, and has a great bass/drum duet during the verses. A wonderful album closer, and an easy standout.

In the 3 years since Carly's Day Out's formation, they have consistantly impressed me and won me over along with countless others. With this album, they, with any luck, will be destined for success. If you like your pop-punk emotional, catchy, and with a hint of maturity in every song, check out Carly's Day Out. They're one of the best bands you've never heard of. My only gripe? I didn't get thanked in the liner notes. Ungrateful bastards.

Goodnight Princess