Living Things

Black Skies in Broad Daylight

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

The Living Things' Steve Albini-produced debut is a raging slab of straight-up rock & roll. The songwriting is as terse, catchy, and rough-hewn as the Ramones; the production open and gritty -- but spacious like an '80s metal album, never sludgy or muddy. Black Skies in Broad Daylight isn't a retro, New York punk record -- this is a hard rock album. A song like "March in Daylight" has elements of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's garage psychedelia and Guns n' Roses' L.A. rock blitz. Pop moments could be Kiss ("End Gospel") as easily as the Jesus and Mary Chain ("New Year"). Sounds misguided? Remarkably Black Skies in Broad Daylight is entirely cohesive -- like the Strokes amped up on AC/DC instead of Television and Blondie, but just as incendiary and toe-tapping. "I Owe" might be the rock song of the year, burning through a list of the country's political and ideological misfortunes to a stunning blaze of handclaps and Lillian Berlin shouting "let's go" while proclaiming the virtues of love. These are nice guys, after all, who cite Sylvia Plath and Henry Miller as influences as readily as '70s rock and '80s hardcore. They prove that rock & roll as urgent, trashy, and fiery as the Stooges' first three albums, Back in Black, and Appetite for Destruction can actually be thoughtful articles of democracy and righteous rebellion. [Much of Black Skies in Broad Daylight, which was never officially released in the U.S., appeared on 2005's Ahead of the Lions.]

blue highlight denotes track pick