Disaster Days... The latest musical compilation by down-state Illinois based rockers Knights of Crisis. Or is it? True, Disaster Days is an audio CD, but in some ways it's more like a bar room story - like an engaging and memorable drama you've probably heard whenever you've decided to pull up a stool at your local pub. Like the best tavern tales, Disaster Days is ready to pull you in on a number of levels. At it's most superficial, Disaster Days is a hell of a listen - a jingling, jangling adventure in style and music. There's more than enough bluesy guitar licks, pounding drumbeats, lush keyboards, smoky vocals and intricate harmonies to keep even the most casual fan interested. And that's not mentioning the lyrics. The lyrics - when was the last time you worked your way through an album so chock-full of double entendres and heartfelt pleas for love; an album so willing to leap between silliness and sincerity? There are songs here to remind you of Hendrix, Dylan, Neil Young and Jimmy Buffett. And there are songs that are pure Knights of Crisis: songs that are loose and lazy, as crowded and crazy as ever. If it's clichéd to suggest there's something here for everyone, then label me a cockeyed optimist. Disaster Days brings out the gushy music fan in me. For long-time fans, Disaster Days' songs blend and highlight the members' personalities. This is a talented bunch of honky-tonk all-stars. Check out the oh-so-Blaney hysteria of "Zamboni Driver," or Jim's Dylanesque vocals on "Not Enough To Call". Who was the first to say that the total is more than the sum of it's parts? It doesn't matter. What's important is the theory is true; at least for Disaster Days. And the more you get to know Knights of Crisis, the better you appreciate this mash-up of music and lyrics assembled for your listening enjoyment. If Disaster Days were simply a rock 'n' roll joyride - a kick-up-your-feet experience for those who've enjoyed Knights of Crisis shows - it would certainly merit your attention. But on a more basic level, this isn't just a collection of stories from the tavern; it is, in fact, a morality tale about the tavern, about the people and the experiences they share. Disaster Days may not have been intended as a concept album, but maybe the corner pub in Uptown Normal is so much a part of Knights of Crisis they simply can't write a song for the bar without it turning into a song about the bar. At any rate, for those willing to give Disaster Days a little time, there's a fabulous story waiting to emerge. Call it a cross between Zappa's Joe's Garage and Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" - a character study that serves as a warning shot across the bow of polite society.
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