Young emo and pop-punk bands often have a hard time gaining credibility in the indie music world. Their cute skater or thrift-store boy looks and alternately catchy and sad emotional pop music allow some critics to easily write them off as cookie-cutter copies of each other. However, the members of New Jersey's Saves the Day have managed to overcome both their youth and the "emo" label to produce fierce and enchanting music that rises above the stereotypes.
Stay What You Are, Saves the Day's third album, creates a portrait of a world in which pain is an inescapable and an integral part of each day's existence. "Cars and Calories," the most intense and driving track, portrays a girl whose life is "magazines and faithful TV screens / selling an empty dream of cars and calories," and the pain which comes upon the realization that meaning is often impossible to find in a world that "takes bites out of your insides / 'til you are just a hollow shell." This is broken-hearted sensitive boy music at its absolute best, music that manages to forge a pop and post-punk good time in which belligerence is left behind in favor of structured yet eccentric force.
This dichotomy between intensity and sensitivity is the vigor of the wonderfully imperfect and genuine beauty reflected here. It is refreshing to see a punk-identified band that does not conform to the image of punk as it is now repackaged and sold at the mall. Saves the Day's authentic and subversive loveliness is refreshing. And they appear to have the talent and passion to keep it going for a long while.