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Artist: Howie Day
Label: Epic
Length: 10 Tracks

Take the modern day appeal of troubadours like John Mayer, Pete Yorn, and David Gray with the inspiration of revered songwriters like Jeff Buckley and Richard Ashcroft, and you’ve got Howie Day, who’s debut Australia was just re-issued via Epic. For those who’ve already seen Day perform during his independent days (including opening slots for the Pat McGee Band) they’re used to his moody acoustic rumblings and quirky personality. 

For those unfamiliar, Australia is a decent introduction to his tales of lovesick evenings and endless regret with the assistance of a backing band often absent at his concerts. Day may be overly apologetic on “Sorry So Sorry,” but his clipping acoustic strums over the throbbing pulse of the backing band drown out the sap. “Secret” is complementary to “Sorry So Sorry” as Day addresses confidentiality in conversation while his band's swirling guitars and hollow drums raise it to an attention grabbing pinnacle. 

However, Day’s studio arrangements are sometimes guilty of over exposing his constant state of emotional disarray while divulging his obvious desire to reach the resplendent heights of idols like Buckley. On “Slow Down” the distorted guitar rumblings and Day’s throaty moans of “I don’t think I can trust love anymore” make him sound whiny and defeated. Cuts like the live recording “Morning After” and the drab ballad “Ghost” also show Day trying to earn sympathy for his personal pain and although he’s literate when it comes to sharing his feelings, the framing of his guitar work once again makes the tales sound tear stained and soggy. 

Andy Argyrakis  10/7/2002


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