A Day To Remember – Common Courtesy (2013)

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Yay!  A Day To Remember are back, with their very first self released album.  For those of you living in a cave, A Day To Remember have spent the last two years battling their record label, Victory Records, over a contractual dispute.  A judge finally ruled that A Day To Remember could release new record Common Courtesy as a self release.

The album isn’t as polished as previous works, but I think that is down to the fact most of it was recorded in Jeremy McKinnon’s home studio after the issues with the label.  This album is extra special as a part of the guitar parts are recorded by original guitarist Tom Denney.

With a strange sound that’s crossed between post-hardcore and pop punk A Day To Remember have a massive fan base who have been expecting brilliant things, myself included.  My God do they do it!  Beat downs, gang vocals and of course Jeremy McKinnon’s discernible voice, only two tracks in and I’m bouncing my head; I can feel everything I always hope for, catchy lyrics and perfect festival songs.

The track ‘Sometimes You’re The Hammer, Sometimes You’re The Nail’ has a really personal touch, with some pre-recording material of McKinnon practicing.  After that it bursts into the song, and it’s just like old A Day To Remember; newer fans will be shocked, they really play on their musical roots in this track.  Towards the end of the song I tingle all over with a very intimate vocal.  It reminds me of ‘If It Means A Lot To You’ from earlier album, Homesick, then ends beautifully heavy.

I’m quite surprised by some of the heavier material on this album as the pattern with metalcore as a genre seems to be to progressively get softer, A Day To Remember seem to have gone the other way. This is the heaviest I have heard A Day To Remember in years, and I am so pleased.

As soon as ‘I’m Already Gone’ starts, I am covered in goose bumps.  Acoustic guitars and these stunning electric guitar melodies in the background of the chorus, and as always McKinnon’s voice is the icing on the cake – he means every word and you can feel it.  The vocal harmonies, I have never heard harmonies so flawlessly performed, my ears are in a musical utopia; without a doubt my favorite song from the album.

‘Violence (enough is enough)’ is undeniably old A Day To Remember.  It is as heavy as they will ever be or ever have been, for lack of a better word ‘Violence’ is epic.

Every song is an experience for the listener.  A Day To Remember have a perfect balance of the extreme end of their heavy and the gentlest subtle songs you can imagine.  ‘The End of Me’ is a superb example of this with lyrics that shout at me in their sophisticated brilliance, perfectly plucked guitar, and again those harmonies are outstanding.

Now we reach the last song, the principal song for me, as many of you may know.  What can I say about ‘I Remember’?  Well, it is A Day To Remember at their most pop punk, but I can’t say it’s a bad song because it just isn’t – no songs on this album are.  It has everything I ask for in a outro, it’s full of feelings and memories making any listener nostalgic.  After the song finishes you hear the band discussing all their tour and performance memories, you even hear a bling from someone’s phone again playing on that personal touch.

I cannot get enough of this album, honestly I have never heard anything like it.  I have certainly never heard A Day To Remember like this, clearly a lot is to be said for home studio self-releases.  There is everything on this album, singalongs, beat downs, melodic and harmonic perfection, personal touches, ballads, anthems, mosh pit perfection and everything in-between.

This album is for us the listeners and for them; this is A Day To Remember doing what they want, this brings out all the personality of each of the band members.  I don’t care that this doesn’t have Victory Records approval, I don’t care that it is still currently unavailable on Spotify and iTunes, I don’t care about any of the political crap surrounding this album.  Why?  Because none of it matters.

Not caring what everyone else wants from you and doing it your way, because at the end of the day all that does matter is the music.  This album is stunningly, beautifully, masterfully magnificent without record label input and my God, it’s nice to beat ‘The Man’ once in a while.

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