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The Undercurrent: Daylight's "Jar"

By Eli Fosl | 17/4/13 12:35pm

For months, many members of the punk community have been anticipating the first full-length release from Pennsylvania grunge band Daylight. After releasing a series of EPs over the past couple years and finishing up their tour with Balance and Composure (on which they premiered a new single from their LP), the group has finally put out a 12-track album on Run For Cover Records that is making waves big time.

When I heard these guys open for Balance And Composure a few weeks back, I wasn’t all that impressed. However, their debut album is receiving rave reviews from everywhere. After hearing someone compare it to the level of Nirvana, I figured I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Jar by Daylight is an LP cut directly from the stone of recent albums such as Title Fight’s Floral Green and Balance and Composure’s Separation. The group has mixed and matched sounds from the realms of 90s emo, punk rock and post-hardcore to stitch together this 12-song release. Although some elements from all these genres can be found, the overwhelming sound coming from this group is purely grunge. Throughout almost the entirety of this LP, the band continues to emanate nearly the exact sound produced on albums such as Nevermind. But what really draws the line between Jar and a band like Nirvana is also my biggest problem with the album – a lack of innovation.

Now it’s hard for me to criticize this album when I’ve openly displayed affection for albums like Floral Green and Separation, but something about Daylight just doesn’t strike the right chord with me. The opening track, “Sponge” immediately starts the record off with heavy, grungy riffs soaking with reverb accompanied by the vocals of Taylor Madison, who once again seems to be taking big pointers from Cobain in his soft, melodic, yet gruff voice. This sound carries throughout the entire first half of the album. The production is what really turns me off to these first songs. The overly saturated and reverb-heavy instruments leave the band sounding far too much like Three Days Grace and the like for my comfort zone, especially on tracks like “Life In A Jar” and “Crawl,” and the drum production sounds like something I’d enjoy in maybe a sludge band, but not here.

This composure of riffs and effect vocals continue in a rather boring fashion until we hit what is probably my favorite track from the album, “Youngest Daughter.” This track, in a sense, is Daylight’s “Head In The Ceiling Fan,” and starts what is a progression of much more interesting songs. “Knew” is finally bringing the band into its more punk stages and “Hole In The Ground” seems to really put Madison’s vocals in a setting where they can thrive, with a singing string instrument in the background and a slower progression. I found this song to be much more appealing, as well as a nice break from the powerful riffs. “In On It” was the single from this LP previously released, and definitely claims that. With an old Green Day feel in the catchiness of the chorus and lower level of reverb, this song is as much of an earworm as it is a jam-out tune.

I do give props to these guys for what they’re going for. The grunge sound is one pretty lacking from the underground modern day post-hardcore/emo/punk scene, and sounding like Nirvana is in no way a bad thing. I just personally think that the chemistry of these sounds isn’t there. Daylight suffers from a lack of boundary-breaking, but unlike Balance And Composure, they don’t have the raw emotional power to make up for it, and unlike Title Fight, they don’t pull off enough variation to keep me interested. I will say that I’ve found myself liking Jar a little more with every listen. It took me months and months to hop on the Separation bandwagon and perhaps the same will happen with this album. Overall, I appreciate these dudes and I’m glad they’re getting the attention they are, but I don’t see Jar being an album I’d go back to.

Overall Rating: 5/10

RIYL: Balance And Composure, Title Fight, Nirvana, Basement

Favorite Tracks: Youngest Daughter, Hole In The Ground, In On It

Least Favorite Tracks: Crawl, Sheltered, Life In A Jar