Whether it’s Roger Daltrey lamenting the supposed lack of a musical movement, or Dave Grohl’s cringe worthy comments to NME that "Computers have made people forget what it’s like to rock out", there is a definite sense among stale-bearded rockers that music is lacking it’s age old anti-establishment charm. Forgetting the fact that these comments are hopelessly out of touch, perhaps we can entertain the idea that guitar based music isn’t quite as subversive as it used to be. After all, we’re living in a time where aging musicians embrace the establishment they once sought to dismantle.
The release of Today More Than Any Other Day then, came as a breath of fresh air. The first time I heard the LP it struck me as something of a revelation. Tim Beeler’s David Byrne-esque vocals, combined with that un-relenting guitar seemed to cut through the air like a bolt of lightning. Here was something honest and real, a soundtrack that went strangely well with the very English urban mundanities I found myself trapped in. From the foot stomping Habit to the quietly despondent Forgiveness the album seemed to swing from one extreme to the other, covering vast swathes of musical territory with each drum beat, leaving you with barely any time to catch your breath.
This original excitement stayed with me long after that first play through, and I showed the album to anyone that would give it a listen. I was hooked, and it’s quite clear to me what it is about the album that appeals so much. Rather than try and make some ostentatious statement, the LP explores the concrete and unimagined, making it a raw, elemental view of everyday life and an electrifying lesson in the art of realism.
It’s in this realistic vision that the album stands out. In a year where music has been characterised by nostalgia and futurism the album threads a familiar sound with a familiar mood but buzzes with so much intensity that none of it seems familiar. Besides, in a world where economic instability is the order of the day and confidence in the establishment is at its lowest for a generation, Today More Than Any Other Day encapsulates some of the punk spirit of the 70’s which scorned the soft idealism of the hippie movement and forced people to vividly live in the present. Even if that present meant a shit job and an even shittier future.
So what’s more relevant within the world today than a band that is unafraid of telling you how it is. Whose vision and un-pretentious clarity reflect the general mood in 2014. Both optimistic and hopeless, Today More Than Any Other Day stands out for its pure honesty in a musical landscape that all too often feels dishonest and cheaply calculated. A master class in the raw power of music, there are plenty of reasons that this is the album of the year.
Words: Tom Russell