Graham Day & the Gaolers

Soundtrack to the Daily Grind

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Soundtrack to the Daily Grind Review

by Mark Deming

A longtime fixture on the British garage scene as a founding member of the Prisoners and a sideman with Billy Childish in Thee Mighty Caesars and the Buff Medways, Graham Day has finally started trading under his own name with this debut album from his latest project, Graham Day & the Gaolers. With Day on vocals, guitar, keyboards and trumpet, and Buzz Hagstrom and Dan Elektro from the Woggles holding down the rhythm section, Soundtrack to the Daily Grind recalls the headier days of British beat (think the Creation with more energy and less paint) but with a punk sense of outrage and a poet's sense of detail in the lyrics as Day decries contemporary culture on the title track, rails against the father he never knew on "Disown Me," and studies the habitu├ęs of a dancehall on Saturday night in "On the Pull." Day's vocals are impassioned and effective and his guitar work is strong, muscular, and roaring throughout; he also does a great job as producer, filling out the songs with instrumental overdubs that add tone and texture without bogging down the rough and ready melodies, and on most of the tracks it's hard to believe that this wasn't all cut live in the studio. Soundtrack to the Daily Grind is just sophisticated and original enough to set itself apart from the work of most '60s obsessives in Europe, but it kicks out the jams commendably hard and shows off an intelligence that still makes room for Day's commendable street smarts. A very impressive solo debut.

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