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  Waking Hours 
Artist: Days Without End 
Label: In Flight Entertainment 
Length: 12/57:39

Days Without End is a Dayton, Ohio based quintet that reminds me a lot of my college days in Cincinnati.  They mix a late '80’s/early '90’s sound with a folk sensibility that produces mixed reactions.  When it works, it works really well.  When it doesn’t, it sounds like filler added to make a full length album out of what could have been an amazing EP.

The group is in its element during the first five songs of the CD.  “No Reason Why” is a Breeders/Primitives style track that makes you glad to be here.  “Cigarettes” and “What’s a Girl to Do?” walk a fine line between 10,000 Maniacs and _Audible Sigh_-era Bill Mallonee.  “Winter” feels like Over The Rhine with a slightly weaker female lead, and “Fallen” revisits the Breeders/Belly sound of the early '90’s.  

Then we hit a three song dip with “Empty,” “She Dreams,” and “Someday.”  These songs abandon the guitar driven rock of their predecessors and fall into the depths of coffeehouse '70’s ballads.  All of the previous energy is sucked out of the room, and the listener is left wondering if this is going to require another latte to get through it.  
Luckily, though, the band rallies with “First Born Son,” featuring Chris Terry’s vocal abilities, and in “Did You See Me?,” which showcases Days Without End’s tip of the hat to Natalie Merchant again.

As this is a debut album, it should be noted there is plenty here to engage an audience.  When seven of twelve songs are solid to great, the potential can easily be seen.  With an outside producer to give them some guidance, the next album from this band could be what every thirty-something is looking for – music that reminds them of what was popular when they burned with youthful passion.

Brian A. Smith
30 January 2005



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