Saturday, April 16, 2016

Howie Day-Australia (2000)


Lazy days at home—they make a perfect time to catch up on some easy-listening music. When the name Howie Day came to my attention a few days ago, it occurred to me that it had been ages since I heard the gritty, captivating voice of the talented singer/songwriter/guitarist. Probably around the time I got introduced to the likes of Alanis Morissette, Rob Thomas and MATCHBOX 20 and Jason Mraz through the popular radio channels. It's been at least long enough for me to greet him now with a friendly 'How do you do, Howie?'. Well, he's doing just fine here on his debut album entitled "Australia", a refreshing 40+ minutes it turned out to be for me, as returning to the realm of alternative rock offered up something different for my ears to sink into than my recent adventures into the world of trance and all things dance. I was quickly reminded of how excellent a songwriter he is and his down-to-earth folk style on the beautifully melancholy opener "Sorry So Sorry". Well, I'm not sorry that I kept rewinding this gem and playing it about a half-dozen times since I wrapped my headphones around "Australia" a couple of days ago! I always fall for these sad, emotional slow pieces. That must be what attracted me about his storytelling of a lady named "Kristina" five tracks later—particularly the light guitar acoustics, which are a highlight elsewhere on both his live audience performance of "Morning After" and the haunting gem he calls "Ghost", where he hopes to have never met the lady he sings about in the heartbreaking lyrics. Speaking of songs that haunt the mind, that is what absorbing the four minutes of "Disco (Afternoon)" does to me. Pleasantly hazy with a laid-back, daydreamy feel is how the music flows, but beneath that sunny warmth is a rather dark underlying where Howie ponders the possibility and uncertainty of sharing that one last chance at romance—at least that's how I interpret what he's saying. Then the "Disco (Continued)" snippet is a virtual 'nighttime instrumental' reprise of that "Disco (Afternoon)", closing out my day of reconnecting with Howie after such a long period of silence:

1. Sorry So Sorry
2. She Says
3. Secet
4. Slow Down
5. Ghost
6. Kristina
7. Everything Else
8. More You Understand
9. Morning After
10. Disco (Afternoon)
11. Disco (Continued)

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