While some astute members of the music press picked up on it (the album was nominated for Rock Record of the Year by the Scottish New Music Awards, as well as being praised in The Sun by veteran music man Jim Gellatly), the four-piece have yet to join 1990s, Twilight Sad, Biffy or Twin Atlantic at the top table reserved for the Scotland’s rock royalty.
Well, they’re only young. And while ‘Indecency of the Few’ showcased genuine promise and originality, their new EP, ‘Chances of Life‘, sees them widen their gaze, turn the Marshall stacks down a little and craft some truly memorable melodies. In fact, from the offing, ‘Chances of Life’ resembles a studied sophomore album, a band full of beans but wanting more than to just bludgeon the listener with fat riffs and eager electronica.
Opener ‘Darwin‘ is as expansive and entrancing as the northern Australian outback itself, Paul Petrie’s instantly recognisable vocals lulling the listener into a familiar place; at once comfortable, but also strangely unsettling, particularly when Petrie channels his ghostly alter-ego midway through.
You really get the sense of a hugely untapped talent here. While ‘Darwin’ is positively Veils-esque, with its ethereal passages of flickering guitar, sparse, barely-there vocals (the faintest suggestion of a choir in the final quarter) and broody bass, ‘Fierce Mink‘ is like The Cure meets Antony and the Johnsons via The Unwinding Hours, and the bass is noteworthy throughout, the jumping off point for the entire arrangement.
Of course, it’s not all harmony-driven. Standout track three, which is helpfully titled – you guessed it – ‘Three‘, is transformative, fragile and spellbinding with a lesser focus on percussion and a more palpable sense of landscape than the band’s other work. And when you hear the line ‘wanted to be somebody else before I die/wanted to be someone else before you arrived’, you can’t help but get a shiver up the spine. This song has set closer written all over it.
‘Network Riot‘, meanwhile, sounds like Arctic Monkeys circa ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare‘ (a touch of ‘D is For Dangerous‘ and ‘Teddy Picker‘ in the synergy between bass and guitar), before morphing into something altogether different by the end, eschewing bombast and excoriating choruses for a sort of apocalyptic instrumentalism, not wholly dissimilar from the brand popularised by This Will Destroy You.
Title track ‘Chances of Life‘ lingers on in the memory, and lyrics such as ‘I do hope that someday I look back and measure time with pride’ might be more expected from veterans like Bruce Springsteen on new album ‘Wrecking Ball‘. There’s something to to be said for a band who toss out such an ambitious refrain without so much as a beefy riff to hide behind. That’s not artifice; that’s balls.
One thing’s for sure; Day of Days can be proud of ‘Chances of Life’. They say you have one chance at life, and this lot have delivered a mini-classic with this tuneful, absorbing five-track EP.