A Day in Black and White Notes

[Level Plane; 2005]

Rating: 2.5/5

Styles: post-punk, vintage emo, D.C dischord
Others: Fugazi, Q & Not U, Rites of Spring

The first advice I'd give A Day in Black and White is to take a serious look at their aesthetic. As a DC band probably capable of fierce performances, they have just enough of the post-hardcore (read: Dischord) dynamic so popular in the capitol's scene to grab some of the followers of that area's scene and sound. Check it out: Q & Not U and Black Eyes are done with, Dismemberment Plan is old news, the Smart Went Crazy crowd is striking out with Beauty Pill, and Fugazi is on hiatus for the interminable future. Perhaps sensing that they can pick up where these bands have left off, A Day in Black and White have taken a turn for the melodic from the noisier EP and split that preceded Notes.

There are a few hurdles, however. First of all, these guys aren't on Dischord, though Level Plane, a smaller label, has released records by Melt-Banana, Hot Cross, and up-and-comers A Trillion Barnacle Lapse. But more noticeable is the surface detritus. "A Day in Black and White" is a horrible band name ("Fugazi," for the record, is one of the best), and the artwork for Notes... well, let's just say I'm surprised the band didn't have a friend proficient enough in Photoshop to veto this layout.

But regardless, the music: this sounds very much like a DC band — dudely, low-key vocals, quiet-loud dynamics, atonal riffs left and right — but don't let A Day in Black and White fool you: they're not trying to force anything too complex on their listeners. "Long Distance Song Titles" builds to what might be a killer climax, yet ends on an unmistakably goofy chord. The follower, "Nothing with Nothing," is downright bouncy; you could form a conga line on these drum fills. One significant plus, however, is that the band are wise enough not to test their listeners' patience too much; 11 tracks fill only 34 minutes. Unfortunately, Notes is neither interesting enough to merit frequent listens nor punchy enough to make a decent drinking record, though "Ronald's Right" makes the band's best case for that in a couple spots. It's a bone for a presumably hungry DC scene, but A Day in Black and White will have to try a little harder to win a plurality.

1. Tinnitus
2. New Energy
3. A Literal Title
4. Lame Duck
5. Less is More
6. Long Distance Song Titles
7. Nothing with Nothing
8. A Good Turn
9. Ronald's Right
10. All Plots
11. Sink Brand Cut Waist