Saves the Day

Through Being Cool

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Possessing a fiery dynamism lacking in their debut Can't Slow Down, Saves the Day's sophomore release on Equal Vision is an emocore classic. More anxious than emo godfathers Get Up Kids, Saves the Day opted for punchier production and faster tempos to provide a backdrop for singer Chris Conley's romantic teen declarations. True to the genre Conley helped define, his lyrics walk a thin sentimental wire. Just when the stories lose balance, leaning toward the obvious, sappy, or both, Conley pulls it together with plain-spoken honesty, as in "Third Engine" when he describes seeing his long-distance love in the face of another girl while riding a train: "I looked out past her cheeks/Through the glass-light conduit/But the sun had sank already/Disappeared into New Jersey/Oh, why don't they have phones on these things." Conley's disclosures resonate wildly with his teen audience -- validating their shallow, but still open wounds -- while the band's tightly wound arrangements gyrate around his language of casual suffering. Highlights of this most elevated combination include the melodic, quick-paced "My Sweet Fracture" and "The Last I Told You." Ending Through Being Cool with the metallic "Banned From the Back Porch," Saves the Day toys with expectation, revealing an eagerness to explore outside the emocore form that is all but mastered on this 1999 release.

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