Any rock band that is capable of putting together a setlist for a show is just as capable of producing a record, but it takes something special to be able to make a record that uniquely portrays the skills of each member of a band without casting a shadow over a certain element of their sound. Opposite Day excellently accomplish just this in their new EP Divide By Nothing, which only contains five songs but features a surreally accented mix that doesn’t cloud the play of any of the band’s three players. Divide By Nothing might not be their most ambitious release to date, but it’s nothing short of a testament to their selfless cohesiveness as a group.
“Zeroes in Your Eyes” and “Penetrating Atmosphere” are prime examples of Opposite Day’s amazing gel as a unit, and both make giant, blistering statements on Divide By Nothing. “Zeroes in Your Eyes” is a magnetizing warhorse that makes the contrast between guitarist Sam Arnold and bassist Greg Yancey’s differing style of play the star, and “Penetrating Atmosphere” shows listeners that drummer Eoghan McCloskey can control the direction of the melodies just as easily as his counterparts can. There’s no dominant force in this EP, jut the singular entity that Arnold, Yancey and McCloskey create when they play together.
The sequencing of Divide By Nothing is simply inspiring if you’ve got a background of music, and you don’t have to be a big progressive metal fan to appreciate just how well the band grabs our attention from start to finish in these five tracks. Even the stark pop construction of “The Only Way I Travel,” which when isolated seems a little out of place on this record, feels like an important part of the EP’s larger narrative. The flow of these songs is impenetrable, even when the substance falls a little short.
“Day of the Triffids” is my favorite song from Divide By Nothing, and my gut tells me that other guitarists will likely agree with me. As an axe player myself, I really tuned into the licks that Sam Arnold lays down on this record, which are the most consistent source of satisfaction in all the songs. Greg Yancey gives him a run for his money in “Day of the Triffids,” but by the time we reach the minute and a half mark there’s no debate over who the real driving force behind Opposite Day is. Arnold is an awesome player, and this record only further evidences his talents.
Opposite Day’s wide variety of influences are clearly all over the map (and their discography is intimidatingly large), but if you’re trying to get a feel for what their persona sounds, looks and feels like, I think that Divide By Nothing is a terrific jumping off point. This band doesn’t sell you on their progressive stylings through a lot of bombastic lyrics and overdone theatrics, but rather via the complexity of their play, which ties all of their music together in a larger than life drama of sorts. Their sound is organic and completely their own, and this EP isn’t afraid to shamelessly show it off.