I was immediately struck by how well Portland’s Thurman managed to balance the tone of their songs. Here was a young band—operating in the self-serious arena of indie-punk—that wasn’t afraid to be playful. They were sad, plaintive, and intense—but they didn’t lead you away from the cracks in their facade. “Choices” is the most obvious example, with its low and high vocal performance sounding like a spit-take to make the bassist fuck up his groove. We always talk about how punk rock is a youthful genre, but sometimes, it’s nice to have the evidence on record too.
A Day Called X is five songs of indie-ish, emo-ish, alt-ish punk rock. It reminded me of the lazy-day angst that Title Fight’s Floral Green managed so effortlessly. Both bands pull from the 90s, but the other 90s, the one that lived in the shadow of the Epifat explosion. Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, Sleater-Kinney, Dinosaur Jr.—as time marches on, the scales are being evened and the question of what makes punk rock punk has broadened in some ways and focused in others. Thurman carries this legacy forward with stabbing riffs and a chilled-out, catchy approach to melody.
The songs themselves feel dynamic and powerful, a meeting of strong songwriting and thoughtful arrangements. The guitars pop, never resting on their laurels—chugging, riffing, and arpeggiating through their entirety. “Day X” feels positively crushing for any power trio, but its fuzzed out chords are just one piece of the puzzle. Thurman is a mixture of heavy and soft, pop and punk—and it’s in this tight overlap that they craft their atmospheric brand of indie rock.
CHECK OUT: “Choices,” “Day X,” “Man on Mars”
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