Daytrader - Twelve Years
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Record Label: Rise Records
Daytrader may have managed to accrue some critical acclaim and an interested following after its Last Days of Rome EP on Run For Cover Records early last year, but it’s the band’s Rise Records debut, Twelve Years, that will launch its career. The group really hit the mark on its first full-length; Twelve Years is a record that makes it possible for Daytrader to garner a cult-like following and leaves the potential for this band to become the “next big thing” in indie/emo music.
Twelve Years is as large a leap as you’ll see a young band take from its first EP to its first LP in 2012. It takes the passion and raw talent from Last Days of Rome, shines them over with nearly perfect production from the legendary Mike Sapone, and the end result is an “emo”-ish record that draws as much from Brand New and Jimmy Eat World as it does the musical endeavors of Chrises Carrabba and Conley. If this were 2002 and not 2012, Daytrader would be jockeying for national attention among the competitive Long Island scene. They would be touring alongside Your Favorite Weapon-era Brand New and Tell All Your Friends-era Taking Back Sunday. And you know, they wouldn’t seem out of place. On the introductory “deadfriends,” a hell of an opener that transitions from a creeping pace in its verses to an upbeat, guitar-laden chorus, Daytrader warns us, “Don’t you ever say we’re destined to be great.” Too late, guys…Twelve Years is a great record and I already said it.
Perhaps “firebreather,” the first single from Twelve Years, is the correct place to begin in this review. Rarely does a first-released song stack up amongst the best songs on a record, but “firebreather” breaks the rules. The song’s most appealing characteristic is Tym’s vocals (he has one name, like Prince or Madonna only more punk), but it’s truly carried by drummer Derrick Flanagin. Providing a steady backbone for the entirety of Twelve Years, Flanagin is a bit of an unsung hero at times but the fills are highlighted on “firebreather.” The song, while more aggressive than most of the album’s 10 tracks, outlines the punk-tinged, pop-oriented sound that is prevalent across Twelve Years. The smoothness in the production is the biggest departure from Last Days of Rome, but pays off in creating a memorable sound for the album.
Aside from its impressive versatility across its 36-minute runtime, Twelve Years’ best attribute is the lyrical output. Extremely intimate experiences are used to make more broadly relatable lyrics, and “if you need it” might be the best example. The track begins with a warning: “Whether it’s love or drugs or drinks / Lust or vanity / Just take what you need / But don’t let your vices bring you further down with them.” As it continues, the song explores the trials that everyone faces (“Life will break you like it broke me”), and find out that eventually, we’ll find ourselves trying to figure out exactly when we decided to give in: “You wonder how the world whittled you down / Got you clinging to the crutches you’ve been trying not lean on / Whether it’s faith in gods or just yourself, old records or closest friends / Just use what suits you best / And if you need it, then you need it / Find a way to get through this old life.”
Since I can’t quote every song, I’ll make peace by saying this is certainly a record that you’re going to want to experience while reading the liner notes. Sonically, Daytrader does a good job of alternating between slower, haunting parts (the constantly building, intense “after-image” and the refrains of “it’s a lie, it’s a lie, it’s a lie” on “skin & bones” come to mind) and bigger, punk-influenced portions (“struggle with me,” “lost between the coasts”) that will please fans of Last Days of Rome. The album shows its brawn throughout its midsection, but its two closing songs provide a burning image in the minds of listeners.
“heard it in a song” is the slowest song on Twelve Years, with strings that accompany a reference to an earlier track: “This world whittled us down and you know it / So we’ll seek shelter in bars, bedrooms and basements / Remember to forget / Close the door and leave me in here.” The track cements the album’s overall impact, with lyrics that can be quoted endlessly no matter how much time passes. The closing “letter to a former lover,” a breakup song, is a testament to the record’s ability to impact listeners of all ages. “I know there’s supposed to be this hole in my heart from too much tragedy / Does it always have to be that way?” Twelve Years is a record that can and should become the soundtrack to many a young person’s life in 2012.
what happend to Scotty Giffin playing drums on this? i was looking forward to some monster tom beats, although i'm sure i'll still enjoy it.
Actually, while we're talking about their Spinal Tap-like drummer spot, the Latterman/Bridge and Tunnel part of their heritage departed almost a solid year ago. Anyone who has kept up with the band's Facebook page would see that there was another lineup change just before the album was recorded. Giffin's not on the record, but I wouldn't worry too much about it, as you'll eventually hear.