A lot has changed for Saves The Day since the breakout of debut release ‘Through Being Cool’, an album that, arguably, influenced the second wave of emo and pop-punk. For a group that fearlessly take chances, it’s a shame that ‘9’, the band’s aptly titled ninth album, doesn’t have the charm that previous records do.
Taking a retrospective look at his experiences growing up in the group, remaining member Chris Conely sings with earnest across the nine tracks. Sadly, the first act of the record doesn’t pick up, despite keeping the energy, with most of the songs failing to hit the pay off that the tension builds.
As we hit ‘It’s Such A Beautiful World’, the group finds their footing, unleashing tightly wound melodies amongst urgent drum patterns and chunky power chords. The track plays off snappy choruses and melodic verses before building towards a burst of energy on its coda.
From here on in the album picks up the pace, with cuts such as ‘Rose’ playing with crashing chords and reoccurring motifs pushing towards dream pop sensibilities. The track itself also sees Conley flirting with spoken word passages and passionate note stretches.
The record is at its strongest when the group deviate from the sound that they made popular as shown in ‘1997’. Taking cues from blues, the track rotates around a sleazy riff that grabs your attention. It doesn’t wait around as it soon slides into bass led verses and furious guitar leads.
Building the pace further is ‘Rendezvous’, in which the group veer towards hardcore punk before deviating towards shoegaze style verses. Jumping between the two influences creates an infectious energy before boiling towards overlapping vocals and twisting melodies.
As the record draws to a close, ’29’ subtlety builds from finger picked acoustics and disparate drums towards a mammoth composition. Flying through at breakneck speed, the group utilises extended vocal patterns, staccato rhythms, and motif variations to keep you captivated for its 20-minute plus runtime.
Lead guitar lines bounce from speaker-to-speaker whilst drums split through interlocked melodies with ease. As the track squeezes every possible dynamic out of the instruments, the sound of an invigorated band emerges.
Regardless of how strong the second half is, ‘9’ just doesn’t hold up compared to Save The Day‘s previous output.