Before settling in to this season of the Bachelor, Rabbits Black correspondent Jay, yours truly, flew to Scranton, the Electric City, this holiday season in an attempt to catch up with some musician friends and revisit a scene that has given the world bands like… well… POISON!, Breaking Benjamin, Title Fight, and the Menzingers, to name a few (and, mostly, to see how the city is doing since the Office went off the air).
The Scranton, Pennsylvania music scene over the past decade has developed tremendously. Growing up there I had the opportunity to watch bands like Cabinet garner momentum. In fact, I was hoping to see them perform, but they were on tour in D.C., so instead I headed out to trivia night at the Bog, grabbed a Yuengling, and received an over-the-counter EP of the band the Daymen, and instantly recognized some old friends behind the vocal melodies. Reviewing their first original extended play “Self Explanatory” was extremely difficult, because it is a bit all over the place. There are intense glimmers of hope and areas that make you feel like you’re shopping on Main Street, Peter Gabriel is playing in the background, and the kid behind the cash register is staring at you like you have food on your face. But in the land of Hohner and Univox guitars, where Elvis Costello and Minus the Bear’s offspring is king–the only world worth living in–these gentlemen take the cake. Time for the long and the short of it:
A Side: There is some great guitar work on this album (see: finger tapping). Keep an ear on the opening guitar riffs, the catchy choruses, Michael Coop and Nick Naro’s honest vocals, and an emphasis on the group’s faster tempos to carry them through their live shows.
On the B Side: A good old-fashioned director and producer with four weeks and a recording studio would take this to the next step, but the Daymen wear the process on their sleeve, and knowing them, they enjoy it; the rough edges adding to the character.
In my humble opinion, an emphasis on the keyboard and a gentle nudge in the direction of Saves the Day’s “Stay What You Are” or Phantom Planet’s “The Guest” would go a long way.
Also, if Bob Saget was involved in some way, I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Their album is slated to come out February 1st, mastered to the sweetest garage standards, but all the more complimentary to their stance – it is what it is.
Get updates for the release party/music here and catch them in NEPA (Northeast Pennsylvania, read a book) this spring on tour with:
In the meantime, check out a RabbitsBlack exclusive “Electronic Plans” available here first, and everywhere the world wide web can take it February 1st (below).