EP Review: A Day Without Love – ‘Tour Is Not A Road Trip’

Posted: by The Editor

tour is not a road trip EP art

A Day Without Love’s new four-track EP Tour Is Not A Road Trip arrived in my inbox at precisely the right time. I’ve been distracted from my tasks by a slight mania: a mania about the gulf between the things people need to do to make enough money to live and the things people want to make as art. It’s never been easy to make a living as an artist, but the path labeled “creativity” seems to veer so far away from the path labeled “$$$” these days as to be completely irreconcilable. Algorithmic social media sucks up time and attention; music distribution platforms pay out almost nothing; former working-class hero Bruce Springsteen is charging thousands of dollars for single tickets to his show. What is happening??

Tour Is Not A Road Trip blasts in and steamrolls over all that economic anxiety with a profound message of musical intention: DIY or die. As I learned when I interviewed frontman Brian Walker a few months ago, he’s been grinding in the DIY scene as A Day Without Love for years, packing musical equipment for cross-country Greyhound rides and barely breaking even financially on tours. But the stresses and struggles of this lifestyle don’t weigh down the actual music on this release, which is high-speed, enthusiastic, sloppy and heartfelt rock and roll; Walker’s songwriting and production have the frenzied and communal energy of a just-trying-to-stay-awake 2am singalong.

“Caffeine” is a jittery punk ode to the classic stimulant (“Car needs gasoline and I need caffeine”), and “DIY or Die” positions Walker against people who “sing for corporate” in the pursuit of clout. “Show Friends” celebrates the kindness of strangers met on tour, ending with an exquisite string arrangement of the chorus’s vocal melody. And closer “Home On The Highway” wraps everything up with a commitment to the road life: “I can’t say if I was meant for this / but sometimes you’ve got to take a risk.”
The EP is a forerunner for A Day Without Love’s anticipated upcoming album A Stranger That You Met Before, but it has sufficiently bolstered my attitude about the independent artist lifestyle for the time being. Something about that imperative lyric “Change the way you live your life” on “DIY Or Die” truly juiced me, and if you’re feeling morose about your current outlook, I would prescribe at least one listen. 
Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal
Tour Is Not A Road Trip is out now via Ur Mom Records.

Molly Mary O’Brien | @missmollymary

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