Monday, February 25, 2008

Today Is the Day

I also got Downhill by Days, which is finally out on Shelflife now about 18 months after I posted "Never Came to Last" on my old blog. The question is of course, has it been worth the wait? Well, getting your record released by Shelflife is worth anything but all those months of listening to the low-quality mp3s, imagining how majestic they REALLY sounded and seeing one brilliant live performance after the other has set our expectations so high nothing short of a masterpiece will do.

It just so happens that the ep(?) is that masterpiece. The title-track is actually on the 7", as it's the perfect a-side, which makes you wonder if it's a single that comes with an ep or the other way around. Either way, I've put the three Shelflife releases LIFE1001-3 separate from both my 7"s and my cds, which must have been one of Ed's reason for choosing the double format. Apart from the four 'old' songs, Downhill spoils us with three new wonders. On the flip of the single is "Motion", a perfect title for another perfect Days tune - and a classic b-side to that. "A Part of the World" might be the song I remember from Rip It Up, sounding better than anything I've heard them do prior to that. You might have gotten used to hearing the four songs previously available, but this track lets you rediscover the sheer joy of following those layered guitar parts in your mind and marveling at their inventiveness!

The sound and production overall is spot on, with some beautiful string parts blending perfectly into the arrangements. The drums sound like they've been recorded in a different way from the rest, which makes them very conspicuous. That's fine though, as I like the sort of garagey boom it gives them. The song that sticks out is of course "Small and Ordinary", a largely acoustic affair that presents a completely different texture. An essential sort of song for a full-length album, which needs a lot more variation, you could argue that it's out of place here. But if you listen to all the seven songs together, like a mini album, it makes more sense. It's also gratifying to know that Days CAN do more that one type of song, however perfectly they do it.

CLOUD 41 Days - A Part of the World

(What happened to #40? ...wait and see!)

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