Summer is basically here (where I live, at least) so when the opportunity arose to jump into some high energy punk-infused metalcore, it seemed right to take the plunge. I mean how can you turn down a record with a title like Rain Soaked Pavements & Fresh Cut Grass? This is the latest from Oslo-based sextet Halcyon Days, and it includes ten fresh tracks of material that is rife with nostalgic leanings but still retains some originality. So let’s grab a lemonade, a walkman, and hit the skatepark.
The first song “Fragments” opens with a somewhat atmospheric guitar part and some call-and-response vocal moments before a quick gang vocal brings the song in with style. After this, the screamo-esque opening verse is pushed to the background, and a bit too far. In both my headphones and my car stereo it became evident that while this was an attempt at creating some dynamics, it ended up as a production error and a bit of an irritation for the listener. This sort of happens again on “Cerca Trova” but I didn’t really notice it elsewhere thankfully.
There are times when this album does a fantastic job of conveying adolescent simplicity. Take “Lights Out” from whence the title of the record is drawn. It’s a punchy, catchy track that just wears the past on its sleeve. “July” and “In Memoriam” take on the same role as well, with plenty of looks at the past through rose-colored glasses and maybe just a tinge of regret. It’s never not fun, however. The riff moving behind the verses in “Catcher” is quite nice, and the vocalists Robbe Madsen and Daniel Lorentsen are in perfect sync throughout each track.
As I mentioned above, Halcyon Days put an interesting spin on this kind of music with their lyrics. Rather than mulling around the usual themes associated with punk and emo; they have placed their angst elsewhere. The band has grown up but their still anxious about the future, and wish for the simplicity of the past. If an act wants to keep the same intensity and authenticity they loved about this music when they were teens, they have to tap into some real issues that they are having at this point in their lives. Rain Soaked Pavements & Fresh Cut Grass transposes the normal misgivings of youth to the regret of adulthood. Sure you could look at this as simply finding something to whine about, but I like to see it as a record of real issues, and genuine appreciation of the past.
Halcyon Days have crafted a pretty neat album here. They’re not breaking any new ground sonically, in fact, it’s pretty straightforward. What Rain Soaked Pavements & Fresh Cut Grass does that’s somewhat unique is the lyrical themes and the perspective through which the emotions are conveyed. There’s regret, longing, but there’s still some hope. It vividly celebrates youth and in a way, it’s a reminder to not let the simple things pass us by. Give this album a spin and see if you don’t find yourself nodding along to the beat and the message.
Notable Tracks: “July”; “In Memoriam”; “Keeper”
FFO: Earthists, Bayharbour, Alazka