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Album Review – Daymare Forgo Frills And Sparkles In Favor of Dominating on “Everything Is Fine”

All images courtesy of Daymare

Artist: Daymare
Album / Label: Everything Is Fine / Unsigned
Rating: 8.5

The year is 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are slowly being eased up, and on the surface things seem to be slowly returning to normal. It would only seem fair that one of Columbus’ most consistent rock acts, Daymare, would bring forth a brand-new EP, titled Everything is Fine.

It’s been over three years since the band released their critically acclaimed EP Glow, and I had the chance to chat with singer/guitar Dustin Rinehart about what the band has been up to in that time. Namely, the group now operates as a three-piece, with drummer Austin Spears and bassist Mark Nye completing the trio.

“Since the band’s inception,” said Dustin, “we’ve really been a two piece. Austin and I have written and produced everything ourselves, so whether there’s been three or four members, it has always been unique to the two of us.

“This is just a new version of the band; a new challenge to get used to.”

The group got together with Jakob Mooney from Mooney Recordings and Rinehart says that he greatly helped them achieve the sound they were looking for.

“Jakob helped us bring out almost exactly the sound we envisioned for this project, from day one,” he beamed. “His process is so different from anyone else we’ve worked with before, and it made us uncomfortable at first.

“But making good art should be just that – uncomfortable. So we let go and went with it, and we ended up with the best thing we’ve ever done, from a sonic standpoint.”

When the I heard the band was going from four members to three, I had initially wondered if some of their signature crunch would be missing from any future recordings. In diving into Everything Is Fine, I found that not only was the group still scale-smashingly heavy, but their sound was sharper and more cohesive, which Rinehart also attributes to Mooney.

“He helped us form better songs, trim the fat here and there, and demanded good performances from us,” he continued. “I know it wouldn’t sound like it does without him guiding us through.”

Everything Is Fine album cover

Rinehart also says that living through the last year and a half in lockdown helped focus the band in a way that they hadn’t expected.

“We had so much time to create, rather than worry about anything else,” he explained. “No shows, no more dealing with promoters and other bands; just us creating whatever art we saw fit. It enabled us to get back to what made it fun in the first place!”

The EP opens with Don’t Give Up, a song about perseverance, especially in the face of adversity.

“The pandemic, police brutality, social unrest, the political climate… the overall message just seemed to fit perfectly with the state of the world right now,” says Rinehart. “The concept of the song and video were simple – showcase all the horrors of the world with a message of hope: Don’t give up!”

The song has a slow building guitar with a bumping groovy riff that immediately gets your neck moving, with an easily-chanted chorus of “DON’T! GIVE! UP!” Even if you’re not paying attention, you’re sure to be drawn in to something on this track. The band also shot a video surrounding the song, which features the band performing with news stories and events from 2020 spliced in.

Don’t Give Up music video

Up next is Control, which is absolutely my favorite song from the record. Rinehart admits that the song started with just a simple riff, and that Spears made him get brutally honest in his lyrics.

“I was at an unhappy job, in an unhappy marriage, and the song is essentially an existential crisis anthem. Sometimes those songs just write themselves.”

The chorus line is simple enough – “let it out, take control.” But the driving guitars bite into your ears and sardonic lyrics are enough to keep your focus centered as the riffs begin to pile up. The band made a tongue-in-cheek video, shot at Spears house, with Nye and Spears playing in different rooms while Rinehart goes throughout his daily morning routine before practice.

“I’ve wandered around Austin’s house in sweatpants enough times, so it felt pretty natural,” he mused. “I feel like I spend way more time at his house than I should, seeing as how we record, rehearse and shoot photos there.

“Plus, Adam and Samantha from REEL FRNDS MEDIA were fantastic – we spent a great day with them and we’re so thankful that we got to collaborate.”

Caligula follows with a brain-scattering riff that Rinehart says started in his mind five years ago and took him until the recording to finish.

“It’s the nastiest song on the album, and I’m stoked we finally got that heavy on a recording!” he boasted.

Daymare L-R:
Spears – Rinehart – Nye

You can really feel Spears hammering away at his kit on this one, and if you’ve ever seen them live you know he’s one of the hardest hitters around town. The tone of the record really shines through on this one, as if it were deliberately set up to destroy your eardrums. All three songs so far would not be out of place on any modern rock radio station or show.

Last, but certainly not least, is Moment. The song builds more slowly than the three prior to it, but the chorus blasts through you like a freight train flying off the rails. Having spent a large chunk of time with their entire discography, I can certainly say that the song seems like a perfect opener for a live set, with the opening line of “this is your moment, everybody’s waiting for that sound.”

Pound for pound, this is one of the punchier records I’ve heard in 2021. All four tracks could be considered for airplay and would not be out of place in a live setting. The record isn’t packed with frills, synths or sparkles, but it still keeps pace with what the rest of the rock world is doing, and I don’t think it would be out of place to see Daymare opening for acts like Death From Above 1979 or Royal Blood.

Nothing Is Fine album cover

The band also released a surprise companion EP that goes in tandem with Everything Is Fine, appropriately titled Nothing Is Fine. The second part features acoustic renderings of Don’t Give Up, Glow (from their last EP), as well as two new tracks, Arrivals/Departures and The Monster.

Arrivals has a pop-punk feel to it, quite different from anything else Daymare has put on a record. But it was The Monster that really slapped me across the face. Rinehart says the song as a whole is about depression and suicidal thoughts, and it features a jarring chorus of “you’re taking my heart out, and you’re killing my smile, I’m over it, over it again; why do you want me to die?”

It is the emotional apex from the eight-track excursion, and fittingly it closes you out wanting more. Rinehart also says he was super proud of Spears, who handled all of the production on Nothing Is Fine.

The band doesn’t have any shows on the books just yet, but Rinehart hinted that when they do it would include both past and present friends, and I personally feel like it would be a rocking celebration of togetherness after the long unplanned hiatus of live music that we all just endured.

Tracklist – Everything Is Fine EP (released May 26, 2021)

  1. Don’t Give Up
  2. Control
  3. Caligula
  4. Moment

Tracklist – Nothing Is Fine EP (released August 3, 2021)

  1. Don’t Give Up (acoustic version)
  2. Glow (acoustic version)
  3. Arrivals/Departures (new)
  4. The Monster (new)

Daymare – Control (Official Music Video)

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