The Dayz – EP2
I’ve been listening to this EP on and off for a couple months now, since long before I reviewed the band’s November 12th set at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. I’ve also known The Dayz’ frontman Dax Callner for a number of years from a previous band of his, as I noted at the beginning of the live review last month. I had heard some of the songs from The Dayz’ previous EP back before I launched the Blog, so I was especially looking forward to hearing the new stuff now that I again have an outlet for my reviews.
EP Review of The Dayz: EP2
The Dayz are a broad-based modern rock band with progressive pop-rock sensibilities. David Bowie’s take on modern rock with a jazz-rock horn section… or some combination or subset thereof.
The collection kicks off with hooky sax leading into insistent vocals on “This Planet,” with the music climaxing and popping with energy. It’s an ear-catching, attention-grabbing introduction. I’d say it’s one of the strongest songs on the EP, but I can’t find a weak one to make that a meaningful comparison. That’s the thing about The Dayz; they simultaneously feel like a comfortable old favorite and like no band you’ve ever heard before. The more I listen to these songs, the more impressed I am with this band. But I disgress…
“Apology Song” follows, and you can practically hear the pain in Dax’s vocals, with old standard-esque keys, horn, and drums knowing just where to add emphasis. And I’m a sucker for a great sax solo.
“Ascension” (featuring Jo Hamilton) is a bit of a soaring, mid-tempo, mainstream progressive rock number that leans a bit on the sax to provide an interesting edge to an uplifting song.
It’s followed by “Leonela,” a keyboard-driven number with such a sense of self that you’ll have to re-listen a few times just to make sure it really is an instrumental. At least, if you’re like me and usually hang on the lyrics, you will. It’s a song with a deep, smooth, hip soul; vocals would only detract from its emotion.
And the collection closes with “The Fourth Estate,” a bona fide progressive hipster pop-rock hit if I’ve ever heard one. Live, I wasn’t surprised to see the crowd moved to dance to this number because it’s hard enough to stay in your seat for the recorded song. The hoarse, emphatic vocals combine with a party-sized wall of sound and adept drum, key, and guitarwork… and, of course, a signature sax line past the song’s midpoint just in case the hooks aplenty weren’t already enough. Take a listen; you’ll remember it days later.
To be fair, a blended mix of sounds like this can take some time to really soak in. The opening and closing tracks are catchy monsters that will bring you back for more while the subtler aspects sink in to give you a full appreciation of the music produced by this ensemble. It’s a fun disc, and it’s hip and sophisticated enough that, if you’ve got headphones on, you’ll feel a little cooler than everyone around you when you listen to it.
The Dayz currently have upcoming gigs scheduled January 3rd, 8 pm at Bitter End; January 13th, 7 pm at Drom; and March 9th, 8 pm at Bowery Electric. You can find information about these shows (and others as there are added) by checking The Dayz’ Facebook events page.