“Dark Days” is lots of things. It’s varied. It’s atmospheric and dark, but at the same time uplifting. It’s downright anthemic in places. Most importantly, it’s good. Oh, and it’s British. Very, very British. It’s takes 40 seconds or so for opener Expensive Imitation to really kick in, but then all of a sudden you’re barraged with an absolutely stomping riff and drum beat, and vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place an Oasis album. The sound takes a dark turn towards the end before abruptly kicking into Keep It Moving, which is the first true anthem on the album. Soaring guitars and confident vocals carry the huge chorus to a truly great level, before moving into All My Life, which takes a sombre turn. This gives vocalist Mike a chance to shine, before flipping the song on it’s head and giving it a very uplifting, sing-a-long climax.
Satellite is a fairly standard rock song which returns to the darker sound with some pretty haunting gang vocals. Hold Your Own continues this sound and elevates it higher, with a LOT of those gang vocals, and some pretty heavy-hitting riffs throughout. This song also highlights the good production on the album, with the layered vocals working incredibly well. Moving onto album highlight Think It Over, we get a mix of subtle verses and a chorus that you can’t help but love the clever guitar and catchy drum work on. By The Trail is another subtle, atmospheric track which builds up to a crescendo with strings thrown in, just to make it even more massive.
Elephant and Run From A Gun continue with the similar traits of the rest of the album, and really help to prove the band know how to work both subtle and bombastic instrumentation to great effect. Out From The Cold is a huge, uplifting rock song with a bouncing chorus, and even a little guitar break which although not technically impressive, is great listen to because the tone is just awesome. Album closer Going Nowhere is a very subtle end for the most part, with some pretty moving strings throughout, before building up to a huge, chanting ending that is just epic.
This album doesn’t end with a bang, and it doesn’t need to. Canterbury aren’t a band about non-stop energy. They understand the fine balance between going all-out hell for leather, and stirring, vocal-driven rock, and that’s what makes them stand out. This is going to be a good year for British Rock.
Guy Whitlock |