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Album Review: The American Scene / Daybreaker Split

Split EPs are a schizophrenic affair, which can make the listener’s experience an odd one. And, by their very nature, they usually rapidly improve or sharply decline at the half-way mark. This isn’t the case with The American Scene and Daybreaker’s split though, with all four tracks being successful in varying degrees. However, if this was a competition, The American Scene would have won comfortably.

It would be hard for anything to improve on the first track, ‘Why I’m Not Where You Are’. It’s a huge song, with echoes of The Dangerous Summer and You, Me and Everyone We Know. With the balance of pop and rock almost perfected on this track, the four minutes and five seconds are just not long enough. There has not been a better chorus written this year and the lyrics are memorable, pertinent and intelligent. It helps that singer Matthew Vincent absolutely puts everything into his vocal work and there’s passion dripping out of every word. ‘Why I’m Not Where You Are’ is just that good.

Their second track, ‘Grip’ is an odd one as it is written and sung by Dave Taylor who has now left the band. The same influences are still evident and it’s a strong song, though Vincent has the stronger and more unique vocal identity.

Daybreaker don’t let the side down, but it’s an unenviable task trying to wrestle back the spotlight from The American Scene. Their sound will find willing ears with Gaslight Anthem fans, the twangy guitars and Dan Rose channeling Springsteen and Fallon emphasizing the rock ‘n’ roll credentials. ‘We’re Still Singing’ is the stronger of the two tracks – an ode to the joys of touring and being in a band. Daybreaker probably didn’t put their hearts and souls into this track to hear this, but it’s undeniably a catchy song with a refreshing take on a well-worn lyrical theme. Unfortunately, despite a promising start, ‘Sleep Well, Angel’ disappoints with a trite chorus and is just over long.

Undeniably this is The American Scene’s record, and their debut full-length must be flying up people’s ‘most anticipated’ lists. Don’t rule out Daybreaker though, they have suffered in comparison, not through any fault of their own and, while the plaudits are falling the other side of this split’s divide, their rock ‘n’ roll sound will no doubt have warmed their fans up, too – this EP just won’t have earned them as many new fans as the American Scene are going to accrue.


Nick Robbins

Alter The Press!