When I was a kid, my dad would take me to the recycling center every week or so to get a few bucks out of our collected soda bottles, pizza boxes, and what-not. To this day, perhaps because I must have heard it a lot on our drives to and from the center, whenever I hear the opening bars of Metallica's Nothing Else Matters I'm instantly transported back to this memory.
Jar, the stunning new album from Pennsylvania's own Daylight, somehow evokes a similar feeling deep within me, even though they're a new band to me and this is, in fact, their debut full-length.
No, they don't sound anything like Metallica - but the music on Jar, an endlessly engaging blend of down-tuned, sludgy mid-1990s hard-rock/grunge seems more familiar and welcomed to my ears than most bands I've listened to for fifteen years. I'm not sure how they did that, but they did it damn well.
Sponge sets the tone perfectly, a blend of guitar riffs, propulsive, earth-shattering drums and the dual attack of Taylor Madison's and Jake Clarke''s vocals, which are placed slightly below the drums & guitars in the mix. The melody is just crushing, and the song is easily one of the most memorable opening tracks I've heard in a LONG time.
Apparently, Daylight changed their sound substantially from their previous EPs to this, their debut for Run For Cover Records - moving a bit away from their original indie/rock stylings to something much more geared for fans of 1990s alternative (of which I'm a card-carrying obsessive).
Life in a Jar showcases their ability to hit that dynamic 'soft-loud-soft-loud' structure, while the approach and melody of Outside of Me calls to mind some of the harder-tinged songs on Lit's debut A Place in the Sun (which is actually one of my favorite 1990s alternative albums, so that's a compliment in my eyes).
Other highlights on this nearly-flawless record include Sheltered (more melody!), Last October (which should appeal to fans of bands such as Balance & Composure and Title Fight, as the vocals are more raw and the song hits punk territory), Youngest Daughter (which slows things down a bit), and In On It - which, coincidentally, was my introduction to the band a few months back.
Simply put, Jar blew me away - I'm always on the lookout for fresh new bands and albums, and Daylight fit the bill. Not only do their songs burst with emotional power, resonance, and a slick production that most bands would dream of, but they do so while channeling my favorite music genre, 1990s rock - all while injecting their own original flavor to everything.
By now, you get the idea: I love this album. Give it a spin if anything I've said here piques your interest - you can stream it below via Spotify - but if you REALLY like it please go buy a copy from the band themselves. Some jerk leaked it early, but bands (and albums) like this deserve your money.
I'll have a hard time keeping Jar away from somewhere high on my end-of-the-year list...
-- Cheese Sandwich