October 30, 2007 - Vagrant
When Saves The Day released Sound The Alarm in 2006, it wasn’t so much a return to form as it was a new, refined, mature band who could be both aggressive and poppy, a duality 2003’s In Reverie severely lacked. While the record was warmly received, no one realized it was merely one-third of what has been developing in frontman Chris Conley’s mind for the past few years. Under The Boards is the second installment in Conley’s trilogy that documents hitting rock bottom only to be reborn. Like any good trilogy (Star Wars, Spider-Man, The Mighty Ducks), it’s volume two where things really take a turn into the shitpile for the protagonist.
Boards traces Conley’s slow descent into madness with radio-friendly choruses (“Can’t Stay The Same,” “Bye Bye Baby”), piano-pop (“Lonely Nights”), a hell of a new rhythm section in Glassjaw’s Manny Carrero and Durijah Lang (“Get Fucked Up”), a remake of Sound The Alarm’s “Head For The Hills” (“Getaway”) and a solo number physically uncomfortable to listen to (“Stay”). But that’s nothing when you get to the album’s final three tracks, “Kaleidoscope,” “Woe” and “Turning Over In My Tomb,” a suite that finds Conley bottoming out over the most churning, discordant music STD have ever recorded. It is painful, cathartic and raw, and it’s like nothing Conley’s ever attempted before.
In the end, this dark, penetrating album is a transitional record and should be viewed as such; the plus side is we know Daybreak, the third installment (due out next year), will be more upbeat and positive. It has to be-Conley’s still alive. =
Saves The Day’s Sound The Alarm
Boys Night Out’s Trainwreck
IN-STORE SESSION WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST CHRIS CONLEY
How much of this record is autobiographical?
Saves The Day have always been autobiographical, but more on an emotional level. The images are always more poetic forms of emotions. It’s all extremely real.
It’s all part of this trilogy we’re working on. Under The Boards is where I’m finally coming to terms with all of the negative things I’ve been bringing into my life, all of the mistakes I’ve made and all of the people I’ve pushed away. The end of Under The Boards is a really dark moment of that story, but it’s the moment where I finally have nothing else to do but learn how to live in the right manner or I can just kill myself now.
It is very chaotic. “Woe” is something very different for Saves The Day.
That’s the lowest point of the whole trilogy. “Woe” is the moment where Darth Vader tells Luke that he’s his father, and then Luke falls into the abyss.
Did you know going into Sound The Alarm that this trilogy was going to happen, or did it just play out after?
I knew it was the story of my coming undone, and I just continued to write the story because I didn’t think it was finished. It wasn’t intended, but there were a bunch of songs during Sound The Alarm that were part of this story, but they didn’t fit on the record so they wound up on Under The Boards.
What’s the oldest song on the record?
“Woe” was the very first song I wrote after a year-and-a-half-long writer’s block/depression following In Reverie. That was me in my lowest moment. That song burst open the floodgates of creativity. Shortly after that, I wrote “Under The Boards,” “Sound The Alarm” and “Bye Bye Baby.” This is all dating back to fall 2004. I wrote “Getaway” and “Because You Are No Other” during the Sound The Alarm sessions.
But like I was saying before, a bunch of them didn’t fit in the story of losing my mind, so we had to figure out where to take the story next. That group of songs was extremely desperate and bleak, which is where the story needed to go because I couldn’t get through to the other side without going through the really hard stuff first, without facing my demons.
Are you ever concerned what your family members might think listening to these records?
Since day one, when I started writing music when I was 14, there were always lines that I could tell [made] my parents uneasy. My dad would say, “Why would you write that?” The weird thing about Saves The Day is we get recognition for being honest, but it’s not the recognition we’re after. I’m doing this just to literally stay strong [and] keep my head above the waves. It’s scary, leaving myself open like that. But I do it to survive. -Scott Heisel