Saves the Day

Ups & Downs: Early Recordings and B-Sides

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Saves the Day fans will happily devour Ups Downs, as it presents a wealth of archival and rare stuff from one of the genre's more veteran groups. "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off to Heaven" wins the best title blue ribbon; it's taken from the same 2000 session as "A Drag in D Flat." "Hold" and "I'm Sorry I'm Leaving" were previously available on Saves the Day's 1999 acoustic EP, but Chris Conley's liner-note insights into their recordings are revealing. Fan favorite "Jessie My Whetstone" appears twice, once acoustically and again in live, electrified form. It's a real teenage tearjerker, and one of Conley's songwriting highlights. Sure, punk-pop-inflected emoticons are a dime a dozen. But in something like the bittersweet pal tribute "Way His Collar Falls," he knows just how to combine lyric with melody to make the song something more than simply youthfully exuberant. His own age shows on the early Saves demo material that makes up the majority of Ups Downs' second half -- the songs have a ragged, holy-crap-we're-a-band urgency. They also sound a lot like Green Day most of the time. A couple covers round out the set here, including "Clash City Rockers" and the Descendents. Check the rough mixing on the Clash tune -- it's, like, 7" quality at best, dude. Considering Saves the Day operates in a world where 7"s are largely extinct, the inclusion just makes Ups Downs more visceral for fans. Now, what are you waiting for? Go out and start your own band. ~ Johnny Loftus, Rovi