Saves the Day

A dozen years after Saves the Day frontman Chris Conley opened 2001’s Stay What You Are with the accurate prediction that “this song will become the anthem of your underground,” Saves the Day has come full circle with their self-titled eighth album, both by returning to their original record label, Equal Vision and, to a lesser extent, returning to the unabashedly melodic, musically uplifting sound that once earned them the dubious honor of being yesteryear’s “next big thing.” Instead of cashing in on that potential, Saves the Day spent the next 10 years writing and releasing deeply cathartic, and commercially middling records, including most recently a conceptual trilogy completed by 2011’s Daybreak. Though Saves the Day recalls the band’s pop-punk-y past, their sound has matured. The album features plenty of driving tempos and bombastic choruses—not to mention Conley’s instantly recognizable high-register vocals—but the guitars are dialed back and the production tastefully spare, bringing to the fore the frontman’s meticulous melodies and trademark lyrical imagery on standout tracks like “Xenophobic Blind Left Hook” and “In the In Between.” In roughly 33 minutes, Saves the Day successfully exorcises the ghosts that have been haunting the band over the last decade.