Days N Daze

Show Me The Blueprints

Written by: MAK on 25/11/2020 02:17:38

Over a decade in the game and with seven full-length releases behind them, skiffle punks Days N Daze have impressed thoroughly in the last handful of years with their unique brand of folk-punk that utilises interesting instruments that include a washboard and a washtub bass. The Texas four-piece produces a blend of high-tempo acoustic folk with elements of aggressive crust and crack rocksteady influences. This diverse sound has pushed Days N Daze to appear on Leftover Crack tracks and splits with the likes of ska-rap outfit Night Gaunts. Now with album number eight, the band with a strong DIY ethos, playing acoustically so they’d have less gear and could perform anywhere, booking and promoting themselves, as well as self-recording and self-releasing their albums, have joined Fat Wreck Chords for ‘Show Me The Blueprints’.

Being on a fairly “big” label doesn’t change the approach by Days N Daze though with opener track ‘Flurry Rush’, which immediately introduces us to Jesse Sandejas’ intricate plucky acoustic licks and Whitney Flynn’ chirpy trumpet melodies that we expect to lay over duel agitated vocals, and lyrics to match them with lines like “Maybe we're fucked/ Maybe we’re born to die/ And all shit out of luck”. It’s a fun, upbeat opener that leads nicely into the country-punk crooning number ‘Ditches’, giving Whitney a chance to show off her melodic vocal talents as they are layered on top of bouncy acoustic strums. ‘Libriyum’ pics up the pace and the fun nature with fast, almost shredded strums. The vocals take us on an adventure from the speedy lyricism from Jesse at first, to the epic “lalalalala” melodic gang vocals, then for both Jesse and Whitney to showcase their best screechy hash shouts, proving they are still the heaviest acoustic band out there. It’s a cool singalong track.

‘Saboteurs’ slows us down again, with a calming tone as it opens with a plucky combination of banjo and mandolin, along with some harmonica as Jesse opens up about his own mental health issues. It’s a beautiful song, but what it does more is elevate how great follow-up hit, ‘My Darling Dopamine’ is. We are treated to some dubby keys and more up-tempo strumming in an intro that leads into a speedy folk-punk track that has a hell of a catchy singing chorus, with duel vocals that really hook you in’ the Brass melodies. This is one of those great sing-along anthems, yet the topic remains dark as the message of having poor mental health still lingers. The back and forth of fast song, then slow song continues with yet another slow song, ‘Rewind’. At least to start with, with some plodded strums and a sombre vocal melody as Whitney sings through gritted teeth. This however gradually crescendos to a song that ends with some oomph, as the vocals are sung harder and the tempo doubles for a punchy little bridge.

The trend breaks as ‘Addvice’ keeps a steady pace, but comes in with more of an uplifting atmosphere with major key hooks, light-hearted trumpet melodies and cheerful singing about more dark topics, this time with tales about self-medicating to numb the pain. ‘None Exempt’ comes in with a waltz/polka like guitar rhythm as one of the most unique tracks on the album. Another crescendo type track that starts of slower, darker, yet calm, but evolves into an aggressive track with shouted lyrics harder-hitting strums and a fast trumpet hook to add intensity. Ironically, ‘Fast Track’ is more of a slow-burning charmer that is more like to make you sway than rock out. It’s a joyous sounding tune that once again lets Whitney clean vocals shine beautifully.

Days N Daze safe one of the best tracks for the back end of the release with title anthem ‘Show Me the Blueprints’. It starts off slow and quiet with teasing plucked strums but builds quickly for a blast of harder rhythms and Jesse’s harsh vocals which lead into a pacey horn melody which is played on top of vigorous acoustic hooks. We are treated to some bouncy ska-punk style segments, followed swiftly by a Leftover Crack esque aggressive hardcore punk outro. The closer is part two to ‘Goodbye Lulu’ from the band’s 2013 album ‘Rogue Taxidermy’. This feels like the most ‘folk’ song on the release, with a big chorus that makes you picture a crapload of people singing “Peace out, farewell, to everyone, everything. Thanks for the memories, I'll catch ya down the line, when we regroup in hell, the first rounds on me, we'll get hammered, to the gimme gimmes auld lang syne” in an Irish bar in Boston. It’s fitting closer that seems like it would be great to end any set.

As with any progression to a decent-sized label, the progression of production has definitely given Days N Daze a fresher sound. ‘Show Me The Blueprints’ is definitely not as raw as any of their previous releases, but it takes nothing away from the crusty sound that inspired earlier material, these are the same types of songs with better quality and more depth to hearing each instrument and letting them stand out more. In terms of songwriting, there are some pure catchy and fun-fuelled bangers with the likes of the title track, ‘My Darling Dopamine’ and ‘Libriyum’. But maybe the ratio leans more towards softer songs and slow burners compared to the likes of 2017s Crustfall. For those that might want more of the aggressive sound, this album might not click quite as much. But there is little danger of disappointment. It’s a solid release that shows levels of maturity and growth as songwriters.

7

Download: My Darling Dopamine, Show Me The Blueprints, Libriyum
For The Fans Of: Leftover Crack, Chewing on Tinfoil, Rail Yard Ghosts, Mischief Brew
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.05.2020
Fat Wreck Chords

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