Timing is key for a band. It’s the sole factor to, you know, actually making music. It’s also something that can be gravely important simply for an album’s release. Given that case, I feel it vitally necessary to write this review for Saves the Day‘s eponymous eighth record on the ten-year anniversary of the release of their game-changing In Reverie. There’s something poetic about it, especially because this record is not only important for Saves the Day, but also for the entire scene that they’ve helped build for almost 20 years.
Without cutting to any sort of chase, let it be known that, against frontman Chris Conley’s wishes, this is not a return to the band’s old ways, but rather a retrospective look at how they’ve grown as a group. After his personal, tormented “trilogy” of records (Sound the Alarm, Under the Boards, and Daybreak), it’s fair to say that Conley has every right to write about something positive. That being said, the clear theme we’re given on Saves the Day is love, plain and simple.
While the album has its own grand theme, the beauty of it is that any Saves the Day fan can point out that the band took a look at their back catalog to add elements of their past into each track. Taking a look at a few songs following the powerfully driving opener “Remember”, it’s clear that “Xenophobic Blind Left Hook” is dripping with the essence of Stay What You Are (complete with Conley’s signature quick wordplay), while “Supernova”, the album’s slowest, is deeply reminiscent of the less-acclaimed Under the Boards. “The Tide of Our Times” will have classic fans of Through Being Cool standing and cheering while “Verona” gives off a much more hopeful Sound the Alarm feeling. The true gem on the record is the insanely infectious “Ring Pop”, the first taste anyone got of the record (through live performances and a demo release). The album closes with “Stand in the Stars”, a track evocative of the band’s previous release Daybreak.
I remember listening to Southern Air, the latest effort from Yellowcard, for the first time and realizing that they successfully created a new age of a pop-punk classic, like I was listening to The Starting Line‘s “Best of Me” for the very first time again. That feeling is what I happily took away from listening to Saves the Day after my initial listen.
Conley, the last remaining original member and monarch of the band, has been through so many ups and downs within his songwriting career that the average person would simply assume he was finished. Those who may have thought so should be informed that he’s not stopping anytime soon. When a band decides to self-title a record, they want it to be the album that defines them. Say Anything did it, Paramore did it, and now Saves the Day have done it. This is the record they wanted for themselves and for their fans. This is Saves the Day.