Dayroom has suffered over the last few years from what I call the Barenaked Ladies Syndrome. This occurs when a band has an origin based around singing about goofy subjects and then eventually attempts to become renowned as “Serious Musicians.” If the transition ever occurs, it takes a while for these bands to overcome their past and finally get fans to scream out requests for the newer and generally less humorous material.
With their third album, Better Days , Dayroom has finally dispelled the notion that they are anything less than a serious band made up of quality musicians. Recorded with über-producer John Keane in Athens, Better Days is a cohesive album that from start to finish emanates a crisp, clean sheen.
Make no mistake about it, Dayroom is a pop band that is well-suited for this style of production. Each member’s instrument melds well and there are no overpowering solos or muddled sound. Mike Winger’s slightly husky but strong lead vocals are nicely supported by the well done occasional harmonies.
Dayroom throws enough variety into the songs here to keep Better Days from becoming twelve refrains of the same song. “Stranded” has a jazzy feel to it, while “Truth” kicks into high gear from the first note and burrows into your head with its straightforward rock sensibility. “Til I Die” — actually written as a wedding song for the bassist and his wife — has a jangly waltz pace and a sweet feel to it. Two of the songs — “Condo” and “Day by Day” — are actually sung by keyboardist Jimmy Riddle, a first for a Dayroom album. Finally, in another Dayroom curveball, the final two songs are largely acoustic.
Considering the band had never played an acoustic show until their CD release party, the songs are an eye-opening leap that work wonderfully well. In particular, the final track, “Postcards from a Midwestern Salesman” is a smartly written melancholy reflection on a (mid)life crisis.
Better Days is an excellent pop/rock album from a mature band that could very well put them on the short list of bands to watch in the future.
Global Head Records, P.O. Box 1186, Athens, GA 30603-1186; http://www.dayroom.com