Take One Car’s sophomore release is ambitious, to say the least. But the upstate NY four-piece seem to have struck gold. It’s Going To Be A Nice Day is a blistering journey through several musical territories – post-hardcore, indie and atmospheric rock, to name but a few. And for the most part, it’s a thoroughly exciting ride.
Taking a bit of a gamble, the opening titular track is completely instrumental, clocking in at just over seven minutes. However, the band keep it varied enough and effectively manage to showcase the best parts of their sound in one go. That said, it doesn’t necessarily let you in on what’s coming next – following track and first single Dear Ronnie certainly follows suit but I Know Why You Went Into The Woods is a terrifically eerie affair with an absolute stomper of an intro, very unlike any other track on the release. That’s not to say that other tracks have no lasting, haunting quality at all – Tyler Irish’s half-spoken, half-screamed vocals give that feeling throughout. Most of the time, this works well but occasionally, I found myself longing for a more tuneful approach, especially when teased with it in So Much In Return.
The musicality of the album is incredible. Take One Car are an extremely talented unit. There are some great riffs dotted throughout, demonstrating that rocky feel, and Virtue in particular begins with some absolute swagger. However, the most impressive part of the album is the atmosphere that they manage to create. Every song, at some point, feels epic. Drawing from post-rock, dual sweeping guitars makes their way to the forefront, but Branden Waite’s bass gives it a kick to make sure it doesn’t get boring. The band experiment with different styles – The Ocean Song has a dark country feel to it, whereas Dear Ronnie sounds akin to Underoath’s earlier output in place. They all seem natural though and each song flows together beautifully.
Lyrically, the album feels like a grand concept of some kind. While not officially a concept album, the lyrics spin tales of sorrow and longing, and of death as well, while feeling as if they’re all part of one big story. In final song Is The Best Way To Die, a fantastic lament on the fragility of life, there are a vast array of great lines – the wonderfully morbid “You’ll one day rot into me and that’s as close as we will be” being one of my favourites. There’s good writing all throughout the album, but particularly in The Ocean Song as well.
The album does have faults – though they are few and far between. Towards the end of the album, the songs begin to follow a typical formula; great intro, the vocals kick in with the same shouted tone and then a long instrumental section follows. The craft in each individual component is excellent, but the songs themselves start to feel too similar to each other. Thankfully, it doesn’t last too long as the final two tracks bring back some more variety. There are also a few too many long instrumental sections put close together – for example, Patriarchs, a purely instrumental track, comes far too early; especially given that only a few songs before it was the long instrumental intro. That said, these are only minor issues and don’t completely detract to what is otherwise an intriguing and complex musical experience.
It’s Going To Be A Nice Day is a triumph for Take One Car. As said on their website, “We have spent the last year working, pretty much non stop, on making it an album that “WE” love…an album we would listen to.” And it’s certainly paid off – they should indeed be proud of their creation.
4 out of 5 high fives!