I think, secretly, Roadside Monument has always been my favorite band to emerge from Tooth and Nail Records. Oh sure, Starflyer is great for bemoaning some girl and I can bust out my Sonic the Hedgehog dance moves to Joy Electric, but for sheer magnitude and musical scope, nothing ever beat Roadside Monument. They quickly disabused the notion that they were an emo band — they had way too much talent. Listening to Roadside Monument became educational and challenging, while remaining emotional.
That’s always the line that Roadside has walked. On one hand, you’ve got the churning emotions and release that fuels their music, and on the other, you’ve got the musical skills and technical prowess that provides the vehicle for those emotions. If you move to far towards the former, you end up sounding like that friend who whines about his ex leaving him. If you move towards the latter, you sound like a post-punk Yngwie Malmsteem or Nitro.
Listening to Roadside’s latest (and sadly, last) album, this fine line becomes more apparent. Songs move from emotionally-wrought to meandering explorations of the band’s talent. But in this case, it’s cool and doesn’t come across as macho guitar wankery. However, they sometimes spend too much time meandering, trying to pack as much in to each song as possible. While a fascinating look at the talent and chemistry in this trio, the music does lose cohesion in parts. Fortunately, they can usually salvage it before it goes too far.
I Am the Day of Current Taste is certainly a juggernaut of an album, just like their previous release, 8 Hours Away From Being A Man. That album leaned more towards the emotional underpinnings of Roadside’s music, and may be easier to listen to. But I Am the Day of Current Taste, for all of its lack of cohesion, does strive higher, and often reaches it. With their breakup, Tooth and Nail’s roster has lost one of their most substantial and groundbreaking bands.