You’ll likely have heard of the city of Salem in Massachusetts, and it’s probably not because it’s one of America’s most significant seaports or being the birthplace of the US National Guard. Oh no, you’re much likely to recognise the name for the country’s most deadly witchhunt, in which at least 20 people were executed, way back in 1692.
Nowadays, those dark days have been put well behind the city, which enjoys a thriving tourism industry, a vibrant, award-winning shopping district and – far more interestingly – a growing music scene.
Testament to that is brand new rock band Darker Days, who formed when songwriter and guitarist Nick Sullivan and bassist Mike Natsios left legendary Boston hardcore punk act Energy following two UK tours last year. They’ve joined forces with Mason Eaton (vocals), Jonathan Burke (guitars) and Kevin Byers (drums) with a renewed focus and revamped punk rock sound.
Despite the upbeat, punky feelings that emanate from their music, the lyrical focus of Darker Days reflects the band’s name. They write about issues that affect them in real life and typically tackle the things in life that aren’t easy to talk about.
Typifying this perfectly is debut single Worry Lines, on which Nick says: “I wrote this song after losing someone close to me to suicide. They reached out to me numerous times before taking their own life and I kept putting off getting back in touch until it was too late. I often wonder if I would still have that person in my life if I had taken 30 minutes out of my busy day to just talk on the phone.”
Opening up with a light flickering guitar, drums gradually creep in then two big smashes of guitar chord launch us into a lively opening verse. Big cries of “Truth is I wanted you to know, Every night I dreamed about your ghost” kick in over pounding drums and high-pitched guitars. Then a big, moving chorus of “I am sorry that I couldn’t help, I’m sorry I wasn’t myself, I watched you die and I’m not gonna lie, Believe me it’s all I think about.”
Guitars drop out for the beginning of the second verse, but kick back in mid-way through and drive it towards to another chorus in which the lively instrumentals contradict the sombre subject. Check it out in the video, which features an ending as macabre as the track’s lyrical content, below:
The single will be followed by an EP later this year, on which Nick tells us: “It touches on love, loss, regret and self-growth. We are really excited about it, we worked very hard on it and we are super proud of the outcome!”
Darker Days are an intriguing proposition, combining ridiculously catchy, riff-filled punk with deep, sombre and powerful lyrics. There’s plenty more to come, including the debut EP and a few gigs around New England, so we’re excited to hear more from them shortly.