Easily one of the most influential guitar albums ever releas
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 04/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are two reasons for anyone who loves music--especially indie and alternative rock--to get this album. First, it is a great album in its own right, featuring several truly great cuts and some wonderful guitar playing. Second, it is easily one of the most influential albums ever released. Alternative may have become popular with the release of Nirvana's NEVERMIND in 1991, but in fact there were a number of important releases that preceded it and that contributed to the sound that would become alternative. Nirvana only popularized alternative, it neither developed nor invented it. They were no pioneers, though they were a great band by any measure. Before Nirvana a number of musical sources went into the formation of alternative, from Neil Young's grungier outings to Television's MARQUEE MOON to Greg Sage's efforts with The Wipers and in the eighties with The Replacements, H?sker D?, R.E.M., and the Pixies. But few bands were more important to the development of the grunge guitar sound than was Steve Wynn's Dream Syndicate and no Dream Syndicate was more influential than THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES.
The fascinating thing about the album is that it sounds so familiar, but when you look at the albums that it sounds like, they all come after its release, while nothing that came before bears much resemblence to it. Little in rock is truly original, but this comes as close as one can get. One can hear a lot of Television in the album, especially the slower pace of the songs, but the guitar playing sounds far more like Neil Young than either Tom Verlaine or Richard Lloyd. Some compare it to the Velvet Underground, but I've never heard that as much as Television. Like Television, the Dream Syndicate is built around twin guitars, though an unequal partnership. Steve Wynn is so much more celebrated than the underrated Karl Precoda that many think he was the only guitarist.
For those coming to Dream Syndicate for the first time, I recommend two albums. THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (I've never been able to determine if the title was taken from Ernst Dowson's poem "Vitae Summa Brevis"-"They are not long, the days of wine and roses/Out of a misty dream/Our path emerges for a while, then closes/Within a dream."-or the Jack Lemmon movie whose title was taken from the Dowson poem) and the retrospective TELL ME WHEN IT'S OVER: THE BEST OF THE DREAM SYNDICATE. Though the band produced a lot of good music, almost all of it is contained on these two CDs. I'm actually not a big fan of the extended version of THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES. The CD includes the eponymous EP that came out shortly before the LP and I find few of the EP cuts to be anywhere near as interesting as the LP versions. I'm not much of a fan of extended versions of albums; I rarely find that the extra cuts are especially good additions to an album. There are exceptions. Elvis Costello's extended versions of albums often contain fascinating alternative cuts of songs (e.g., the acoustic version of "Green Shirt") and the Gram Parson versions of the songs that were (for legal reasons) sung instead by Roger McGuinn on the Byrds's SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO are vastly superior. But these are the exceptions. To be honest, I would rather that THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES featured only the original cuts and I'll be honest and say that on my iPod I've deleted the additions and kept only the original nine cuts.
However one listens to this album, either at home with all the cuts or on iPod with extra cuts eliminated (my recommendation), this is one of the crucial albums in the development of alternative rock. The songs remain very strong a quarter of a century later (eeek! I suddenly feel old!). "Tell Me When Its Over," "When You Smile," "That's What You Always Say," "Then She Remembers," "Halloween," and the title track are as haunting now as when the album first came out. Truly one of rock's great albums."
RHINO RECORDS: THANKS FOR THIS BRILLIANT REISSUE.
Ripped off by Amazon | Scarsdale, ny USA | 08/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In late 1982, I was driving to first year law school classes in DC, and I was listening to WHFS from Annapolis.(Luckily I never practiced law.)They played a song from a new band called The Dream Syndicate called "Halloween." Like the song for Drella, I was forever changed. That great radio station got behind Steve Wynn and Karl Percoda's eerie V.U. feedback influenced mania. WHFS pumped many beautiful, classic, and forever enduring classic anthems from this record through their precious airways for the next few months. Can you name a modern station today that would have the guts to do that in the USA today? I blew off my first law school class after that first song, drove to the hip record store in Georgetown, and bought "The Days of Wine and Roses" as well as the 2 EPs that are added bonus tracks on this Rhino masterpiece. I spent the next year and the following 18 years listening to these records over and over. I still have a sealed copy of the LP that I bought "just in case." The record went in and out of print on CD for a few years, but has been unavailable until the head of Rhino showed his usually thankless genious, and served up Steve Wynn and the Dream Syndicate a shlishe of well-deserved rightousness. The music on this Cd will not only live, but be commented on, compared to, critiqued, and debated well beyond all of our lives. Every song explodes with youthful energy and that oh so rare diplay of fearless risk that everyone should have the guts to lunge for at least once in their lives. You might succeed like Lou and John did in 1966, or the Dream Syndicate did in 1982. Or even I did at one point in my life. Just listen to "When you Smile," a non-adultorous version of "Pale Blue Eyes," or "Until Lately," a rocking Clash-lyric like psychotic episode. Or maybe the title track, which has nothing to do with or at all sounds like or is in any way a Jack Jones type trip will make you dream of singing this song with the band like I have dreamed. I could tell you how I saw the band's first tour at 9:30 club, or how I almost got fired from a major NY investment banking firm because I refused to go to a Compaq meeting in Houston because I wanted to see the Dream Syndicate's last show in NY before breaking up. If you really dig this album, check out Steve Wynn's solo stuff...It's like listening to Lou after absorbing the V.U. AND AGAIN. RHINO YOU ROCK. You guys deserve all your good fortune for releasing top quality product such as "The Days of Wine and Roses." And Mr. Steve Wynn: You continue to grow with each solo release over your nearly 20 year career as a rocker, Rock on my brother!"
Gimme Shelter | 02/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a classic "alternative" CD that deserves more recognition. It's a dark, noisy, punky, guitar-and-feedback-soaked gem with vocals that will remind you of Lou Reed (in fact, many critics in the '80's slammed this for sounding too much like Velvet Underground, and there is a definite VU vibe here). The whole CD is great, but particularly good are the title track, "Then She Remembers"(which is edgy, furious, and will make you want to kick a hole in your wall), and the CLASSIC song "Halloween", which is only one of my favorite songs of all time. It's a slow-burner with a whacked-out guitar solo and a vibe that's both ominous and strangely beautiful. If you like mid-80's punk and "alternative", buy this CD."
YOU MUST HAVE THIS
Erik EEEP | Louisville, KY United States | 11/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Classic album that spent better part of the early 80's on my turntable and on constant brain loop.Raw emotion, distortion, feedback, a good beat, and great lyrics. (Except for the one weak song "too little, too late" which did not belong but had moments).Sure this album owed a lot to the VU but that is a good thing and in the early 80's the VU was nearly forgotten until this album.After this album Steve Wynn lost direction and made a lot of crap but this is an all time classic that you must at least hear."
6 stars if I could!
Bryan Griest | Glendale, Ca United States | 09/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was lucky enough to winter in LA in 1982, when the Times listed their albums of the year; Days was #1, so I picked it up, being a pretty hardcore VU fan. From the first crash of the first explosive chord of "Tell Me When It's Over", I was hooked. This is one of the best albums of all time, not just of its year. That spring, I was in Eugene, Ore. at the U of O, and I heard that the Syndicate was coming to Portland, so a couple friends of mine that I had played Days for saw them and were blown away. We decided we should probably stay for the headliner-U2. I never missed another chance to see the Syndicate in LA after that, and I've always returned to this album in times of anguish, heartache, or joy. Including the contents of their first EP on this re-release is genius typical of Rhino as well. Buy this album or be forever ignorant of a modern classic! Anyone who has any interest in the Velvets will completely dig this album too!"