Time Again - Darker Days (Cover Artwork)

Time Again

Darker Days (2008)


Time Again is pretty much a band that you either hate or love: Some people claim that the band, and especially frontman Daniel Dart, deserve to be ridiculed and called poseurs at every given opportunity. Others claim that Time Again deserve to be hailed for their uncanny ability of writing catchy, fun, melodic punk rock. Having grown up on Rancid's (first) self-titled, Let's Go and ...And Out Come the Wolves, I firmly belong in the latter camp: I'm a sucker for their anthemic brand of Rancid-influenced punk.

Less than two years after their debut full-length, The Stories Are True, L.A.'s very own Time Again is back with their sophomore release, Darker Days. It's safe to say that Daniel Dart and company don't tread new ground with their latest offering; what we've got here is basically The Stories Are True Part Two. However, the band sounds tighter and more energetic than ever, and the production is also slightly better than that of their first LP, letting the bass lines shine in all their Matt Freeman-esque glory.

The bass lines aren't the only aspect of Time Again's music that is similar to Rancid, though. Vocalist Daniel Dart's voice bears a striking resemblance to Tim Armstrong's raspy vocals, and the general vibe of this album is extremely similar to that of Let's Go, for instance. The lyrical approaches of both bands are also very alike: Topics such as life on the streets, dealing with tough situations in life and the classic "rising up after you've been knocked down" theme are covered thoroughly, to say the least. Hardly innovative stuff, and some critical voices even claim that Daniel Dart's stories about his life as as a homeless, alcohol-abusing adolescent are exaggerated or borderline fiction, but it's what you've come to expect in this genre, and I find the positive outlook that runs through the lyrics pretty enjoyable.

As for the high point of this record, it's definitely the fact that almost all of the songs are anthemic, extremely catchy pieces of melodic punk rock. "Looking Back," "Lines Are Faded," "Moving On," "TV Static," "Streetwalker" and "Outcast" all have the potential of becoming punk rock classics -- in my book, "Looking Back" probably being the absolute highlight of the disc, a mid-tempo, pushy affair featuring a chorus that you'd have to be deaf not to sing along to.

Darker Days isn't an innovative record that redefines the genre -- far from it, but it's a tour de force in anthemic punk rock, done just the way I love it. Time Again has never claimed that they're reinventing the wheel, and "formulaic" might even be a fitting description of their music, but does it really matter when the actual music they release is taken from the top drawer of punk? Hardly. I dig this record, and highly recommend it to those of you who still get goosebumps when listening to punk rock anthems such as "The Way I Feel," "Black and Blue" or even "Broken Bodies."