I’ve written about this before, but the sentiment bears repeating.
There was a time when I was still doing my radio show when the “faith-based” music scene was more exciting than ever. My news segment was chock full of worthwhile information. Bands were cropping up left and right in every conceivable genre. The summer festival scene was still healthy, as Cornerstone, Creation Fest, Sonshine, Ichthus, and Purple Door all thrived. The path that bands like Underoath and Copeland had forged in their respective scenes made possible the success of, for example, The Devil Wears Prada and Anchor & Braille, amongst others.
Even when it came time to retire the radio show and move on, I kept writing for a faith-based music website. But over the course of 2010, I found that, for whatever reason, the news just started… drying up. The bands that I had played on the shows were now falling apart, I guess in the wake of a piss poor economy.
It was sad. The festival that I had so come to love, Cornerstone, no longer offered the Florida version, and bailed on California after just one attempt. The 3 years that I went had massive dropoffs in attendance. I remember the first year (2008, if I recall correctly) was packed. Some of the tents couldn’t hold the number of people who wanted in for up and coming bands like August Burns Red, with sizable overflow on both stage right and left. Those that wanted to be right up front for late night slots for bands like The Chariot had to show up hours in advance.
But by the third and final year of attending Cornerstone, nearing the end of the week, the grounds on that farm in Illinois were mostly empty. I’d estimate that year’s attendance was about a third of the first year I was able to make it.
I bring this up because, whatever shift happened, whatever rift was created or whether it was the economy to blame, bands like All The Day Holiday were the worst off. An established band like Underoath could ride the wave of Cornerstone’s demise and come out on top. But for a group that needed the summer Christian music festival scene to buoy their bottom line and expand their audience, the loss of such events was truly devastating.
I’d go out on a limb and say that’s one of the factors that went into the dissolution of ATDH, but I’m getting ahead of myself. In a review I wrote about another Cincinnati band, Enlou, I questioned what was in the water there that had caused such an outpouring of talent. Pomegranates (now called Healing Power) and WHY? are two other notable acts from Cincy. While neither will be chart toppers, they’re both capable indie groups.
Similarly, ATDH’s debut and only album, The Things We’ve Grown to Love, taps into the vein of Cincy’s indie power. But like the band themselves, who were together for just three years, it comes and goes in a flash.
The group’s sound can best be pinned as somewhere in between Death Cab for Cutie and Jonezetta, with nods to indie rock and a heavy smattering of ambient electronica. Much of the album errs more toward indie rock, which is disappointing, because “Real Time” has an amazing (and underrated!) digital overlay.
Things We’ve Grown frontloads its 2 best songs: “Autumn” and “Real Time,” which is arguably the band’s best overall tune. After that, though, in spite of what their Last.fm charts depict as the most played songs, I feel like a lot of the middle is too soft to stomach. It’s a kind of mushiness that makes me feel like listening to Copeland. But if I wanted to do that, I’d just… listen to Copeland.
I don’t know, I guess it’s just that this album hasn’t aged very well for me, and this was a difficult listen. When I hear it now, all I can think about is that era of my life: summers spent at Cornerstone, constant shows because bands still managed to be bands, a bright and healthy music scene. But as the saying goes, you can’t go home again. I’m thankful it happened, because it’s helped shape me into the type of music listener I am now, and maybe in some indirect way, is the reason this project even came to fruition. Still some killer, Radiohead-inspired covert art, though.
From All the Day Holiday’s The Things We’ve Grown to Love, this is “Real Time” –
Standout tracks: “Autumn,” “Real Time” and “Cities”
Weakest track: The middle is so flat.
RIYL: Experimental ambient, indie rock. Death Cab for Cutie, Dignan, Anathallo, Jonezetta, States, Gates, even a little bit of Copeland.