Dag Nasty – Field Day (1988 Giant)

Oh boy.  Field Day might not be thedeal jumping off point for an introduction to Dag Nasty, but it was in fact mine.  You’d be well advised to start chronologically with 1986’s primo hardcore standby, Can I Say, featuring the classic DN lineup of Dave Smalley on the mic, Colin Seers on skins, Brian Baker on gits, and Doug Carrion carryin’ on with the bass. Something of a blueprint for melodic hardcore in the Ronnie Raygun-era, Can I Say boasted ten incendiary blasts that were oft imitated, and rarely (if ever) duplicated.   Smalley’s exodus before the band’s follow up venture, Wig Out at Denko’s entailed the entry of new mouthpiece Peter Cortner. Wig Out’s notable mid-tempo nuances couldn’t prepare DN’s fanbase for the radical departure of the quartets “difficult third” LP, Field Day.  You see, in ’88 the then-established Nasties double-dog dag dared their minions with a patchwork of eighteen meandering, stylistically curious songs that by my estimation upended their reputation to the extent that the only thing sensible to do was to splinter shortly afterwards.  Which they did.

Often exuding the tenor of a bewildering music salad than a logically flowing record, even the best results here are undercut by processed production treatments and gloss that sound unnatural in the Dag Nasty realm, especially on the heels of the two albums of fiery, unadulterated punk.  Nonetheless Field Day houses many respites like the Descendents-y “Here’s to You” and title track.  A run though of the Ruts (UK) signature tune “Staring at the Rude Boys” is taut and convincing, and so is the gripping “Dear Mrs. Touma,” a piece concerning the loss of young man due to a senseless act of violence.  Then there’s a retake of Can I Say’s “Under Your Influence,” which is arguably turned into a neutered mockery here.  There’s also plethora of quasi-ballads and introspective pieces juxtaposing with the relatively aforementioned old-school numbers.  It isn’t that a “soft” Dag Nasty is a “bad” Dag Nasty, but jarring nonetheless.  A key example is “The Ambulance Song” which finds Baker dipping into blues-lite guitar fills of all things.  There are even more inconsequential forays clogging up Field Day, but I’ll spare these guys any more scathing.  Things do end on a high note at least with the inclusion of “All Ages Show,” a thrashy, melodicore punk-pop gem that brings the band’s potential well into the foreground.  “All Ages…” appeared on a previous single of the same name along with “You’re Mine,” which is also appended.  As for DN’s Americanized spin on Wire’s “12XU,” I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Field Day is certainly not the band’s finest hour, but is there most intriguing.  Not long after, Brian Baker made his way into the lineup of Junkyard, a slavishly sleezy metal outfit in the mold of Guns ‘N Roses.  Colin Seers parlayed his talents to one of my personal ’90s faves, The Marshes.  The ’90s also saw a Dag Nasty reunion album, Four on the Floorwith Smalley back in the drivers seat.

01. Trouble Is
02. Field Day
03. Things That Make No Sense
04. The Ambulance Song
05. Staring at the Rude Boys
06. 13 Seconds Under Water
07. La Penita
08. Dear Mr.s Touma
09. Matt
10. I’ve Heard
11. Under Your Influence
12. Typical
13. Here’s to You
14. (16 Count)
15. Never Green Lane
16. You’re Mine
17. All Ages Show
18. 12XU

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Articles Origin: Dag Nasty – Field Day (1988 Giant)

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