October 3, 2002

Test Spin: Howie Day

Print More

His first big release on a major label, Howie Day’s Australia offers great music and great promise from the 21-year-old artist. Previously, Day had released the album independently, selling over 30,000 copies of the disc after his shows. He has gained a respectable following among college-aged listeners, who go so far as to trade bootlegged versions of his covers of various bands including Oasis, Dave Matthews Band, and Verve. However, his own original material is not to be dismissed.

Day uses a myriad of recording techniques to turn his solo acoustic songs into dynamic and layered tracks. Australia contains a mix of full band tracks, solo acoustic tunes, and a live recording. Mournful tracks such as “Ghost” and “Sorry So Sorry” are balanced by the more upbeat mood of songs like “Disco.” There is a sense of paranoia in “More You Understand,” while “Kristina” has an almost intoxicating effect. Overall, the album has a raw indie edge coupled with the professionalism of an artist who has been writing material since his mid teens, even if that was only a few years ago.

Day has enormous talent that if developed further could put the artist among the ranks of those he covers.

Archived article by Michael Kantrowitz