ReverbNation Spotlight: Spaceship Days
Spaceship Days, from Durham and fronted by former America’s Got Talent and American Idol top 40 finalist Adam Lee Decker, is the kind of band that I pretty much despised when bands with similar sonicscapes as theirs began to take over the alternative genre in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now, even when Pearl Jam was considered alternative, something that I never really accepted (NIN was alternative — that is until The Downward Spiral took them mainstream, oddly enough), it was pretty obvious that the basic guitar, drum and bass set up that regurgitated the 1970s metal riffs and hooks that made millions for Pearl Jam and company really wasn’t a musical alternative as much as it was a reaction against the excess in rock at the time. Pretty soon, kids hanging in their dorm rooms, plinking their acoustic guitars and plunking down on their laptops, which utilized electronic music generating programs (much like Spaceship Days founders Greg Torsone and Chuck Cox appear to have), realized that Pearl Jam and company, great as they were, really weren’t “alternative” in their sound as much as their demeanor. The strange mix of acoustic and electric guitars and electronically generated bleeps and bloops was something that proved to be a real alternative to the “alternative.” Pretty soon bands like The Killers began to move into the mainstream, as well as the mainstream alternative, paving the way for bands like Spaceship Days, Metric and countless others. While I still remain, at heart, a bigger fan of the Pearl Jam type of “alternative” than The Killers, there is something to be said for that guitar, bass and drum-based music that really challenges your musical conception of the norm. Spaceship Days does this for me, and it should for you as well.
Hovering a little closer to the pop-rock spectrum of the music sphere than the synth-rock spectrum, Spaceship Days craft intricate love songs that pop along on a synth and electronic, easy breezy Sunday morning vibe like the catch “Every Face is a Faraway Place,” but also reveal that they can right a pretty straightforward and slightly angsty rock song laced with uptight electric guitar lines and tense cosmic bleeps like the standout “Elvis & Jesus.” It’s the best song off their newest EP Saving the Universe.
“Heartbeat,” the EP’s opening track, strikes the perfect balance of sound between “Every Face is a Faraway Place” and “Elvis & Jesus.” It’s electronica opening blends smoothly into very early sounding U2 or Echo and The Bunnymen guitar notes and progressions. “Saving the Universe,” the EP’s title track makes use of some similar guitar sounds, but builds a sonic heft around the intricate and slightly jazzy drumming. It bounces and skips along a little too buoyantly to really be rock, even though it displays some pretty prevalent rock elements. It’s an intriguing song. You can almost headbang AND dance to it.
It’s that kind of mixture of apparently cross-stimulation that makes Spaceship Days so interesting. Spaceship Day’s music is unlike many of their contemporaries’ simply because it is so interesting and genre-bending. It’s rock, but it’s pop. It’s electronica, but it’s happy. It’s reminiscent of everything from new wave to post-grunge, but you can spin it at a dance club. It’s the kind of music that can find widespread appeal simply because there is so much to it that is appealing on so many levels. With a sound this interesting and good, the pressure will so be on these guys to deliver that big album. Personally, I can’t wait to see what that pressure produces. It really could be extraordinary.