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This Day And Age
The Bell And The Hammer
One Eleven Records/ East West Rock

The five piece outfit This Day And Age have shed the punk rock urgency of their debut album Always Leave The Ground from 2004 and gone with a more melodic rock base for their second outing The Bell And The Hammer. The music has the floating platforms of notes like Inkwell and As Tall As Lions giving the songs a more elated feel like Mae and Open Hand. The quintet from Buffalo, New York have made their music unpredictable, in a way, by going with a current that is more adult contemporary and mainstream than their first delivery, but also a direction that no one saw coming or would expect from This Day And Age in their photogenic composites.

Produced by Ed Rose (The Spill Canvas, Slowride, The Get Up Kids), band mates Jeffrey Martin on lead vocals and guitar, Steven Padin on drums and percussion, Michael Carroll on guitar, Joseph Secchiaroli on bass guitar, and Kelly Sciandra on Rhodes piano and French Horn, kept an experimental element in their verses creating tones and series of their own making and configuring them into coherent melodic bundles that float with a magical effect. This Day And Age show that you can keep your individuality and links to music factions like ambient, modern country, experimental rock, and electro-pop, and make commercial sounding music from kegs of influences.

The album is feel good music on an ethereal plane. The shimmering guitar blades on "Always Straight Ahead" are beautifully fondled by the bass flinches. The vocals are sensually poured over the melodic flourishes and the echoes add an luminous tonality gliding over the beats. "Second Star To The Right" has melodic rock buckles like the reverberating guitar solo in the center. The words are infused with love: "Closer to the stars is where we ought to be/ And I'll never arrive if you're not there with me/ Don't give up on me/ Your love is like the sea/ It's surrounding me."

The entire album is a profusion of sentimental love which I guess would be nauseating for some people and totally welcoming for others. When records require a label to warn the public about explicit lyrics, This Day And Age needs to warn audiences of their large doses of love soaked melodies. Even on the lamenting tracks like "More Of A Climb Less Of A Walk," the notes are uplifting and the words drenched with sentiment and love. The tempo progressions relax and build up with a liquidity ease.

The melodic country tones on "Building A Home" are doled out harmoniously without sounding too country or too pop, but exhibiting a melodic balance that transcends delineations in music genres. This Day And Age crosses over defined categories and bridges their sound with influences from the global music pool. If anything this album shows that This Day And Age have a more globally-enhanced sound like the piano overture on "Of Course We've All Seen The Sun" which has an Elton John strength. The mid-tempo number is intense without being overly dramatic. The final number "All We Thought We Could" is a ballad with intriguing guitar twists and complementing piano segments in the underbelly of the arrangement.

This Day And Age have crafted a masterful album that is carefully portioned, melodically built, and technically complex and challenging. The intricate trellises embellish the tunes and segue the tempo progressions. Lacking is the punk urgency of their first full length album but in it's place are melodic rock verses that flow with a worldly artisan's proficiency.

-Susan Frances

Track Listing:
1. Always Straight Ahead
2. Second Star To The Right
3. The Bell And The Hammer
4. More Of A Climb Than A Walk
5. Sara Poor Sara
6. Eustace
7. Walking Contradictions
8. Building A Home
9. Winter Winter Spring
10. Practice Makes Better
11. Of Course We've All Seen The Sun
12. All We Thought We Could

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