Days Of The New


Days Of The New

Days Of The New - Days Of The New ©1997 Outpost Recordings
1. Shelf In The Room
2. Touch, Peel And Stand
3. Face Of The Earth
4. Solitude
5. The Down Town
6. What's Left For Me?
7. Freak
8. Now
9. Whimsical
10. Where I Stand
11. How Do You Know You?
12. Cling

Days of the New leader/singer/guitarist/co-producer/songwriter Travis Meeks was but two-and-a-half (in dog years) when his band's debut was released in 1997. In addition to Meeks' young age, the band's main promotional handle was that they played grunge-y heavy metal on acoustic instruments. This description is in fact quite fitting, as a great many songs on this album are based on power chords or metal-ballad arpeggios performed on acoustic guitars, with dissonant thrash-influenced intervals ("Face of the Earth", "Solitude"). The sparse but tasteful guitar solos are likewise played au naturel ("Touch, Peel and Stand").

While Meeks' influences are obvious (Alice in Chains, Metallica, and a dash of Pearl Jam) and his consistently dour singing mannerisms could be downplayed, he is evidently a gifted songwriter and instrumentalist. His rhythm guitar arpeggios show tremendous variety and inventiveness and are performed very confidently. Very rarely does he resort to the dreaded full-chord strum, an unmistakable sign of creative sclerosis. The guitars are engineered, performed and mixed beautifully, with a very warm, natural tone that solidly supports the harmonized vocals.

In spite of the risky all-acoustic medium, the songs are varied, often emotional ("What's Left For Me?") and consistently interesting ("The Down Town"); and while Meeks' youth shows through some of his lyrics ("Freak"), he is a powerful songwriter with a hell of a debut album under his belt a full year before he didn't find a high-school prom date.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 09/2001

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Days Of The New II

Days Of The New - Days Of The New II ©1999 Outpost Recordings
1. Flight Response
2. The Real
3. Enemy
4. Weapon And The Wound
5. Skeleton Key
6. Take Me Back Then
7. Bring Yourself
8. I Think
9. Longfellow
11. Phobics Of Tragedy
12. Not The Same
13. Provider
14. Last One

Two years and one tour after his band's highly successful debut, songwriter Travis Meeks fired everybody and released a very lavish album, complete with choir, orchestra and even electronica touches ("The Real", "Enemy").

The songwriting itself is not markedly different from his first album and the songs are still acoustic-guitar centered, with very personal and bitter lyrical themes ("Not the Same"). The vocals are serious and ominous, with frequently harmonized phrases. While no Jim Gillette, Meeks now ventures into more lyrical higher pitches here and there ("Weapon and the Wound"), and his singing is more confident overall. The choir/orchestral arrangements are generally well integrated with the rest of the instruments; however, the string section sounds a little small and could have been mixed a little brighter and the orchestra lacks the brilliant bridges and flourishes that can make a large ensemble really exciting in rock/metal (as in, say, Queensryche's "Real World").

Unfortunately, with all the new elements Meeks brought into the stew and the undeniable quality of his songwriting, this album is a tad overlong and has too few arresting tracks like "Last One" and "Take Me Back Then" to make the listener want to carry Meeks' child or jump around the room screaming "yay". Days of the New II is a good album that will not fail to please fans of the band's debut, but it will probably not gain Meeks any new aficionados.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 09/2001

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Days Of The New III

Days Of The New - Days Of The New III ©2001 Outpost/Geffen
1. Hang On To This
2. Fighting W/ Clay
3. Days In Our Life
4. Die Born
5. Best Of Life
6. Dirty Road
7. Where Are You?
8. Never Drown
9. Words
10. Once Again
11. Giving In
12. Dancing With The Wind

Days of the New mastermind Travis Meeks returns with the "band"'s third eponymous album, this time with a red cover. The continuity (similarity?) with the first two albums extends beyond the tree-themed art, as Meeks' songwriting style and vocal delivery haven't changed all that much: he stills Hetfield-threatens a lot, cajoles here and there, and generally comes across as an extremely serious young man with unresolved issues - but thankfully never comes close to Eddie Vedder's beyond-words annoying bleat and pretentious affectedness. The production, performance and arrangements are superb, with remarkable acoustic guitar sounds and a very even and clear mix.

Whereas its predecessor incorporated timid techno/electronica touches and bold orchestral arrangements, this album introduces distorted electric guitars, which are sparingly used to add heaviness to Meeks' thick, varied and generally excellent bed of arpeggiated and strummed acoustic guitars ("Hang On To This"). "Where Are You" features some overdriven electric guitar fills evoking a blend of bluegrass and classic rock soloing (think Pete Townshend). The orchestra is discreetly back in a few places, notably in the compelling orchestral and choral intro to "Dirty Road", which evokes the most inspired moments of Therion's Theli. The quality of the songwriting seems to improve as the album unfolds and a string of very good tracks amply makes up for the first good-but-not-fabulous songs ("Dirty Road", "Never Drown" and the remarkable Doors/Carl Orff-inspired closer "Dancing With The Wind" ).

If you liked Days of the New's first two albums, you'll either love this album because it fits in really well within the band's discography or you won't pay attention to it for the very same reason. Regardless, this is a fine album that clearly surpasses most of the band's more obvious influences (Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains), if only in the consistent quality of the songwriting.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 09/2001

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