Canterbury – Dark Days
Canterbury’s third album comes with some impressive names attached. Produced by Peter Miles (We Are The Ocean, Dry The River) and including tracks mixed by Adrian Bushby (Muse, Foo Fighters), Dark Days promises to be their most successful album yet.
Previous album Heavy in the Day sounded confident and accomplished, but there is a clear maturation on this record. Sonically, it’s darker and heavier, and lyrically it’s perceptive and emotionally intelligent. There is a constant awareness of some mental darkness that could be slipped into at any moment; Dark Days is certainly an appropriate title. With its intense, crashing guitars, the album seems to hang on the expectation of some impending destruction.
Despite their gloom, Canterbury have one hell of an ability to construct mercilessly catchy choruses. This ability manifested itself in Heavy in the Day but here it is refined and honed to powerful effect. Each song is hard-hitting and immediate; they make constructing such hooky melodies look easy . They’re the sort of songs that will unleash themselves all over rock radio stations. With Dark Days, Canterbury have created catchy, accessible rock music that looks to earn commercial success.
The layering of the dual vocalists gives the songs great depth and texture. The vocalists are impressively versatile, bearing the strength to belt out unrelentingly intense choruses, but also to sweetly croon on the mellow closer “Going Nowhere”. This song is a complete change of pace from the rest of the album, with its shimmering guitars and soaring string accompaniment. Lyrics like, ‘this isn’t like the world that I know, I feel like I’ve been stripped of my soul’, create a sense of alienation, from oneself and from the rest of the world.
Contrary to the song’s repetitive nihilism, and the melancholic ambience of the whole album, it ends with hope and positivity for the future (‘we’re going somewhere’). I’m left unsure how to feel about this – it feels a little corny and forced, yet in conflict, simultaneously heartfelt, injecting an uplifting sense of optimism. I suppose the concept that Canterbury are following is that however dark a day may seem, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
On the whole though, Dark Days is a strong album, which should see Canterbury affirm their place in the current rock ranks.