It’s been over three years since the last Fastbacks full-length—a rather unusual amount of time considering how sporadic the group has been in the past. But on The Day That Didn’t Exist, the Fastbacks don’t want to talk about what’s happened since 1996’s New Mansions In Sound. This album’s all about right now, and what’s coming tomorrow.
From the album title to the names of several songs (“One More Hour,” “Like Today”), The Day That Didn’t Exist is about time, and living in the moment. It uses the same formula as every previous Fastbacks record, but even at the end of the band’s second decade together that formula sounds surprisingly modern, and not out of place in today’s rock landscape. Kim Warnick sums it up when she sings “Here is my new book of old / Timeless stories often told”—the songs sound the same, but they’re as powerful as ever.
On seemingly every other cut, Warnick and bassist Lulu Gargiulo sing about where they are today, and where they’re headed. Except on the beautiful “Goodbye Bird,” The Day That Didn’t Exist displays absolutely no sentimentality. It’s an upbeat album that alternates between proudly pledging “This is where I am,” and wondering “Where will I be tomorrow?” “One More Hour” and “Like Today” bask in the glory of the present and hope that the next day will be just as good, while “As Everything” and the title track are celebrations of what the Fastbacks are right now. Kurt Bloch’s production pulls all the positivity together into a wonderful package, showing off his usual brilliant guitar work and the gorgeously-layered harmonies of Warnick and Gargiulo.
There’s not a clunker on the album. While some might scoff at a band using the same sound for 20 years, The Day That Didn’t Exist is proof that there’s no need to fix something that isn’t broken. “Maybe,” “Goodbye Bird,” “My Destiny” and “I Was Stolen” are the type of instantly memorable songs every Fastbacks fan has come to expect, while “Dreams I Have Seen,” which flaunts Warnick’s pretty voice over a watery guitar, is a pop gem any band would kill to write. There’s shouting, smiling and hooks galore all over the record, making The Day That Didn’t Exist just as solid as the last three great Fastbacks albums.
If you’ve never heard the Fastbacks (and you ought to feel guilty if you haven’t), The Day That Didn’t Exist wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Because even though they started 20 years ago, the Fastbacks are just as important—and without a doubt just as great—today as they’ve ever been.
// Notes from the Road
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