Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saves the Day: In Reverie [2003] — Album Review

Chris Conley: Vocals, Guitar
Vocal Era: In Reverie
Dave Soloway: Guitar
Eben D’Amico: Bass
Pete Parada: Drums
Reed Black: Electric Piano, Grand Piano, Mellotron, Synth
Produced by Rob Schnapf

1. Anywhere With You – 2:32
2. What Went Wrong – 2:50
3. Driving in the Dark – 3:14
Import Slip Cover
4. Rise – 3:12
5. In Reverie – 2:27
6. Morning in the Moonlight – 1:54
7. Monkey – 3:22
8. In My Waking Life – 2:50
9. She – 2:35
10. Where Are You? – 1:45
11. Wednesday the Third – 3:39
12. Tomorrow Too Late – 3:31
Special Edition [Import] Bonus Tracks:
13. Don’t Go Outside – 1:55
14. Coconut – 3:06
Total Runtime: 33:50/38:51

In Reverie is not a bad album. The only reason I open with that statement is to make everyone who abandoned Saves the Day in 2003 because this album "sucks" and "it's not Saves the Day" and "Chris Conley is ghey" go away and/or look like an idiot in the comments. Now, I stand by that statement. In Reverie is a great album. Conley's writing continues the spectacular imagery seen on Stay What You Are, Soloway experiments with some new guitar techniques, Parada's drums sound amazing; it all just works so well.
After Stay What You Are, guitarist Ted Alexander left the band, and Conley took over rhythm duties; also departing on platform 2002 was drummer Bryan Newman, the last remaining original member of the band besides Conley. Newman was replaced by Pete Parada. Newcomer Reed Black, while not an official band member, played a bunch of instruments on a few songs.
The album's opener, "Anywhere With You", was the only single from the album. "Anywhere With You" went largely unnoticed, and the album peaked at #27 on Billboard's Top 200. Critics berated the album for no apparent reason, and most Saves the Day fans hated it with a burning passion. In Reverie never got the chance to show itself because it got shot down before it even asked because it was a little different. People are dicks. Now people in 2003 may not have appreciated this song, but I sure do. "Anywhere With You" is the last old-school StD song recorded (though, "Where Are You?", which we'll discuss in a bit, also is more old-school). The guitar at the beginning and during the choruses sounds amazing, the lead riffs sound great, and the lyrics are great. As for the vocals, Conley's voice is slightly higher than Stay What You Are, but they're more nasally. And that's the issue abandoners had with the album. His voice changed. You guys [who didn't think Through Being Cool was their last good album] do realize that his voice got higher between Through Being Cool and Stay What You Are, right?
"What Went Wrong" certainly isn't the greatest song on In Reverie, but it's decent. Next is "Driving in the Dark", and here's where the new guitar sound really shows itself. It seems Soloway learned some jazz voicings for chords, and he wanted to show everyone how cool they sound ('cause they really do, and they're fucking hard to play), the band was like "that sounds awesome let's use those!" and then the fans were like "ICK IT'S NOT EMO". Damn kids. Anyway—the guitar sounds great and the drums flow well; the vocals sound nice and the lyrics are spectacular. "Rise" isn't a great song, but it's not a bad song. Again, it's okay.
And now we get back to being awesome, thanks to our title track. "So once again I swim, in reverie/Without your love/Feels so long ago I can't remember now/When we began" are lyrics that're gonna get stuck in your head. The guitar sounds weird, but in a good way. It sounds like, Egyptian-y… maybe. Soloway is just really good at writing lead riffs. A short tune, and riding on the coattails of "In Reverie", "Morning in the Moonlight" sounds awesome. The octaves on the guitar are awesome.
On "Monkey", well… the lyrics here are… unnerving. They're certainly peculiar. "While you were sleeping he would whisper in your ear/The monkey will bite/Better eat your poultry too". Conley really has a knack for this stuff.
"I'm never in my waking life/Dreaming is my all the time" Conley says as "In My Waking Life" picks up. 'Cause that's what this album is all about: daydreaming (in case you didn't know, "in reverie" means you're in a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing). And that's what these songs sound like. You're in a daydream.
An acoustic song, with some Mellotron courtesy of Reed Black, "She" kinda overstays its welcome. It feels like it drags on a bit. This is probably also where Conley's voice sounds the worst. Not bad, per say, but not as good as on the rest of the album. Another short one, "Where Are You?" reminds me of "Do You Know What I Love the Most?" from TBC. It's short, sweet and it's effective.
"Wednesday the Third" sounds quite dreamy, but even more dreamlike, "Tomorrow Too Late", is the last song on the U.S. version of In Reverie, and it's a great closer. It really rounds out the album and sums up all the talents expressed throughout. "When was the last time/I held you all through the night/Feels like a zillion years and I don't wanna wait more".
On the European special edition, we have another short song. At only 1:55, "Don't Go Outside" is brief, but it seems longer than it is (a feeling shared by another song that's 1:55, "Stuck" by Allister from Last Stop Suburbia). Its lyrics are pretty dark, kinda showing the direction Conley's writing would go in the following years leading up to Sound the Alarm.
Finally, "Coconut" is what I like to call "Saves the Day writes a Jimmy Buffett song". And I mean that in the best way it can be meant. The lone acoustic and the electric sound great together.

Anywhere With You: 9/10
What Went Wrong: 6/10
Driving in the Dark: 8/10
Rise: 5/10
In Reverie: 10/10
Morning in the Moonlight: 8/10
Monkey: 7/10
In My Waking Life: 6/10
She: 5/10
Where Are You?: 8/10
Wednesday the Third: 7/10
Tomorrow Too Late: 9/10
Don't Go Outside: 8/10
Coconut: 7/10

Subtotal: 88/120 103/140
Bonus Points:
Guitar Intricacy: +2
Killer Choruses: +2
Total: 92/120 107/140
Score: 7.7 Outstanding (7.6 Outstanding)

Genres: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock

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