Saves the Day Under the Boards

Saves the Day With last year’s Sound the Alarm, it was clear Saves the Day were embarking on a return to a more traditional sound, largely abandoning the direction they began with 2003’s In Reverie. Much like the its predecessor, Under the Boards features some of Saves the Day’s most aggressive music, coupled with the darkest lyrics Chris Conley has penned to date. Album opener "Under the Boards” is a not so subtle contemplation of death, while "Woe” and "Bye Bye Baby” are drawn from some of the lowest points of Conley’s life. As the second part of a trilogy, Under the Boards is supposed to come off as a sombre experience; it’s meant to be rock bottom. As a The Empire Strikes Back album, Under the Boards plays its role exceedingly well, perhaps too well. Where Sound the Alarm featured anger directed towards the world, Under the Boards has Conley turning that negative energy inwards. The emotional turmoil can be hard to listen to at times, despite the album featuring some of the best songs the band have written since Through Being Cool, with a fair mix of pop ballads, aggressive pop punk and acoustic numbers. If the band can keep their level of songwriting up, and Conley makes good on a happy ending, 2008’s Daybreak will be a perfect cap for the band’s trilogy.

Under the Boards is the second part of a trilogy that started with 2006’s Sound The Alarm. Is the ambitious nature of the project starting to wear you down?
Conley: It’s definitely an ambitious undertaking, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m not trying to put any pressure on myself, so I am taking it as it comes. I work a little bit each day and if I don't get anything done it’s okay, but I have about one-third of the album written. Hopefully it will be finished entirely by the New Year and we can start recording again. We want to have Daybreak out by next fall.

How does the theme of the story play out from Sound the Alarm through Under the Boards and finishing with Daybreak?
The first song I wrote was "Woe,” which is towards the end of Under the Boards. It was really where I was feeling like I was at the bottom of the barrel. I looked in the mirror and saw some awful things. Sound the Alarm is the back-story; you meet me in the midst of my depression, frustration and anger. Under the Boards is the hangover from Sound the Alarm, where at the end I am pissed off and over life in general. The second song on Under the Boards, "Radio,” I find myself wanting to make someone smile but I realise that I am driving the people I love away and that I really have to change because I am ruining things that I love. So that begins the transition but I am not really ready to deal completely, so I make mistakes and blame people. In "Kaleidoscope,” the person I love is gone and I am by myself. "Woe” is when I realise what I am and if I don’t face this pain it’s only going to get worse. Even though the journey is dark, it is leading towards something positive. At the end of the day, it is a story of hope.

When something of this scope is behind you next year, where do you see the band going?
This is a fun project but I don’t think we’ll do a trilogy again. We definitely aren’t a band to retread the same old ground. I imagine the music will keep changing from album to album as we evolve as humans. We’ll continue to make music but with the world changing it is important to reinterpret how we go about doing business. Who knows, maybe we will put out music strictly on the internet and people can subscribe and get a new song every week. In a way, Daybreak feels like an endpoint but at the same time, it feels like a new beginning. (Vagrant)