When “With Eyes Wide Open” came across my desk for a review, the artwork instantly caught my eye with its layered abstract elements. Though unfamiliar with this Italian band, the cover’s visuals led me to believe I would be digesting a complex collection of progressive metal tunes tinged with a gothic overtones. I was wrong.
The songwriting does not feature stops and starts, unusual time signatures or the other expected elements of progressive metal, because that’s just not what the band actually delivered. Instead, “With Eyes Wide Open” is a listener friendly, melodic rock album that has ample aspects of edge, as well as sheen. The heavier tracks, such as the opening one-two punch of “Pull Me Out” and “Give It Away” have a bit of a retro nu-metal vibe that is reminiscent of Trust Co., with some fat sounding fuzz guitar tones and pleasant vocals stacks on the chorus. The songs are catchy and very easy to grasp, which may prove to reduce their shelf life over time, but they do make a positive initial impression.
The third track, “Whatever You Want Me…” takes an unexpected lighter tone with acoustic guitar at the forefront. It’s a well-written ballad, but a bit of a jarring move coming in after the heavier two openers to the record. I was initially confused by the style shift, but the band executes this lighter handed love song well and its hummable chorus finds singer Marco Baruffetti sounding a bit like John Elefante in spots (this is a good thing).
Things turned heavier again with “Starlight,” which features some shimmering vocal harmonies butted up against a riffy rhythm track that also features the first guitar solo to stand out on the record at early listening.
Production wise, the record is a cohesive sounding mix with a lot of warm distorted guitar tones and a punchy rhythm section bed that is solid and driving without drawing too much attention away from the vocal harmonies and primary electric guitar lines. A Perfect Day walk the line skillfully between being heavy and melodic, and “Mama Said” is a pretty good representation of what this band offers on the heavier rock side.
“The Hideaway” is a grungier versed tune with a notably more prevalent drumming performance that demands more attention than much of the rest of the record, and though the track isn’t necessarily complex, the band sounds tight and precise, in part due to the layer of warmer production. “The Love We’ve Waited” is another acoustic based ballad that doesn’t necessarily fit in with the tracks on either side of it, but it’s an instantly hummable chorus that would likely appeal to the feminine component of their fan base.
“The Roots” is also a bit different sounding from the rest of the record, with a pop punk vibe that reminds me of Green Day. What A Perfect Day lacks in perhaps an identifiable sound and style, they make up for in solid execution. “In My Room” is a slinky rocker that grooves and bounces with energy that would likely translate really well in a live setting. “All My Life” wraps up the record with a more relaxed and uplifting tone that is a tad plodding, but benefits from a couple tasteful solos and an overall hopeful vibe to end the record on an up note.
“With Eyes Wide Open” is apparently the third release from A Perfect Day, who I was unfamiliar with prior to giving this release a listen. I have not heard the first two releases by this Italian rock outfit, so I can’t comment about any kind of evolution or development that may have taken place over the course of their catalog, but “With Eyes Wide Open” stands on its own as a polished rock record with instantly accessible melodies and solid vocals harmonies that are hooky and quick to take root. While the ballads on the record break up the sound of the record, they also are a little confusing as a representation of the band, almost like how Extreme’s “More Than Words” and Mr Big’s “To Be With You” were out of character to the heavier edge of most of the band’s output. Overall, this was a surprisingly solid melodic rock record that was an instantly enjoyable listen. While it may not offer much groundbreaking originality, this is offset by the overall execution and accessibility.
Released By: Rock of Angels Records
Release Date: October 23rd, 2020
Genre: Melodic Rock
- Marco Baruffetti / Vocals, Guitar
- Andrea Cantarelli / Guitar
- Gigi Andreone / Bass
- Alessandro Bissa / Drums
“With Eyes Wide Open” track-listing
- Pull Me Out
- Give It Away
- Whatever You Want Me (To Do)
- Mama Said
- The Hideaway
- The Love We’ve Waited
- The Roots
- In My Room
- All Of My Life
A Perfect Day offer up a polished, melodic rock record that nods to Linkin Park and juggles heavier and lighter shades of straight ahead songs in a way that’s hard to find much to complain about.