Day Blindness

Day Blindness

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A typical description of Day Blindness involves references to the theoretically similar but inherently antithetical West Coast bands the Doors and Iron Butterfly, and it does in fact play something like a cross between those two groups, though with none of the musical nuance and aesthetic vision -- and none of the existential considerations -- of the former and with all the unrelenting bombast and sonic pretension of the latter. What it does have in common with the Doors is its organ-heavy, acid-touched moodiness and its dense blues underpinning, though it is unable to do anything significantly innovative with either element. And like Iron Butterfly, Day Blindness draped their music in a sometimes smothering, cerebrum-numbing blanket of quasi-metal guitar. The band, indeed, took their hard rock very seriously, and that leads to a good number of earnestly overblown moments. It also causes the nearly 40 minutes of music to drag as a whole and to dull one's appreciation for their more enticing aspects. And such aspects, though few, do indeed exist here. "I Got No Money" and "House and a Dog" aren't songs so much as chances to jam on blues changes, but each has some commanding moments. And the 12-minute "Holy Land" is less atmospheric or disorienting than "The End" (seemingly its model), but it has some worth nonetheless, though in a vaguely ham-handed way. This band must have undoubtedly provoked some gut-thumping excitement for their live audience, blasting from ballrooms with an accompanying swirl of smoke and a kinetic surreality. The fact that it has been bootlegged attests to the fascination it still elicits. The album has not, unfortunately, worn particularly well (though considerably better than "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"). Still, it provides an interesting glimpse into the heavier, more straight-ahead side of San Francisco acid rock.

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