One of the aims of this site is to cover artists who don’t get enough attention. One of the more deserving bands to fit that description is Daly’s Gone Wrong, a four piece rock band from the Bronx, NY which covers a lot of ground in literally every song they release. I say rock, but a better description might be mathy punk/metal/emo/pop/ska… oftentimes all in the same song.
I’ve been a fan since the late 2000’s when I first heard their single “Die Die Die and Then Some”; a song which whenever I’d put it on in my car people would always ask what it was (whether they loved or hated it). If you’re not familiar with this band, I heavily recommend starting with that song as an anchor and example of what they do best.
Outside of growing a bit more introspective musically and lyrically, Daly’s Gone Wrong haven’t changed their sound up too much since then. To paraphrase their own description on BandCamp, they make music that they want to hear, the music that no one else is making.
Daly’s Gone Wrong are some of the most unique music makers out there, which brings me to their latest release for this “The Quiet You Keep From Company” review.
The Quiet You Keep From Company Review
Spotify dropped the ball on this one for me because this record came out in February, and the only way I heard about it now (in September) was because a friend sent it to me, hence the late review. At 7 songs, it’s one of the slighter releases they’ve put out certainly in awhile.
“The Quiet You Keep From Company” opens with “It’s Already Tomorrow in Australia”; a single they released ahead of the record last year. It’s the perfect intro to the record because it’s the classic Daly’s formula: time signature, dynamic, even genre changes on the fly underneath huge catchy vocal hooks.
The track starts with an uptempo kick snare under a muted intro guitar riff which sounds like something off of my favorite record of theirs “Never a Hand to Hold”.
The urgency of that first vocal hook grabs your attention instantly. Anyone new to Daly’s Gone Wrong immediately take notice of the unique and impressively ranged (clean) vocals; he certainly has one of the more interesting voices in the rock scene.
Aside from the vocals, the other hallmark sign of a Daly’s song are the completely unorthodox song structures. A typical Daly’s song is made up of several unique sections, most of which don’t repeat.
They bring back one or two parts at the end occasionally for some cohesion (which incidentally are often the most impactful parts of their songs), but typically the songs just go where they will.
It sounds like stream of consciousness songwriting, and standard locked in features like time signature and tempo are anything but static. Rather than trying to repeat anything, it just sounds like they feel out what would sound good coming out of the preceding section.
I feel cheap citing the first single which was released well ahead of the record as the best song, but I think “It’s Already Tomorrow in Australia” is the strongest song on the record in equal parts because it’s both the tightest and has arguably the most memorable hooks out of the batch.
“Your Older Bones” is another song which I’ll find myself coming back to in the future for the same reasons I liked “…Australia”. It gets a bit mired down in the middle, but that opening feels like a style I’d like them to explore a bit more within the track.
The second half of “The Quiet You Keep From Company” is less memorable to me. After “…Bones”, most of the record is comprised of deeper feeling cuts which don’t have the strength of hooks I’m accustomed to with a Daly’s record.
Usually every Daly’s song has at least a few hooks somewhere that I really like, but these don’t quite hit the mark for me like previous releases do.
“The Closets” has a very brief stretch of vocals which is the most impressive on the record about 2 minutes in, but it’s over far too soon.
It’s always the tradeoff with Daly’s Gone Wrong: if you don’t get a part that you like, odds are there will be one which you do coming up in a few seconds. The rub is sometimes the best parts are too short-lived.
“Forever From Afar” throws you through the craziest and most impressive stretch of changes on the record, but it doesn’t quite land on anything which scratches the itch. With so many changes, I found myself losing focus on the song itself throughout multiple listens.
The strongest moments of “The Quiet You Keep From Company” are the ones which stick around long enough to grab on to.
The coda of the closer “Not Now, Never Again” is an example of this with a nice emphasis and effect on the vocals which makes for one of the better moments on the record.
Something I want to be sure that I mention is that I like the fact that they’ve toned down the screaming element a bit more on this and more recent releases.
The contrast between clean and screaming vocals is a signature on virtually every Daly’s track. It’s interesting, because I avoid screaming vocal based music completely, but I’m a huge fan of Daly’s.
As a fan of more melodic rock, the screaming oftentimes makes the payout of the poppier and cleaner sections that much greater.
On “The Quiet You Keep From Company”, the screamed vocals are used more sparingly and managed to greater effect I’d argue rather than feeling like it needs to be an even split like on their much earlier releases.
I’m going to get selfish here for a moment, only because I’ve been a fan of this band for over a decade now.
I even made a 5 hour trip once up to New York to see them play a dive bar, and while they only played about 6 songs, it was a great set (shout out to the very happy inclusion of one of my favorite Daly’s tracks in “Womanizer’s Have Hearts Too”, a stand alone single from 2011 and one of my favorites).
Daly’s Gone Wrong is one of the more obscure bands I like who genuinely fascinate me.
For purely scientific purposes, I not-so-secretly want Daly’s to try writing a song (or even a record) which follows a more conventional song structure.
They’ve demonstrated that they have the capacity to effortlessly write hooks as catchy as any pop rock or punk band. The amount of hooks in 2 or 3 of their better songs alone could be cut up and stretched out into a strong full length for any other band.
Their hooks definitely lend themselves to being repeated, even if they rarely do them in their own songs.
The unique vocals would pull a lot of listeners in, as well, especially when delivering the right hooks.
I genuinely think they could attract a much larger audience by refining their sound a bit and focusing on some of the elements they already have.
I don’t get the sense that the band has the ambition for that. With 7 years between releases and judging by how active they are online and with shows (even pre-pandemic), it’s evident that the band has long just been more of a hobby for its members.
And getting back to one of the first things I said, Daly’s is writing exactly the kind of music that they want.
Again, just my selfish curiosity that I had to mention because I easily see the potential sitting there. Let’s wrap up this review.
Ultimately I’ve been trying to understand why their previous release, 2014’s “Finding Your Heart Again” resonated with me more than this record. Sonically, both records sound similar with a maturity that didn’t exist on their earlier, more carefree sounding records.
Specifically I wanted to know if my taste for Daly’s (or specifically new Daly’s) has waned over the last few years, or if it was this record.
First off, at only 7 tracks, I’d expect a more memorable collection of songs. I’d argue there isn’t a track on “The Quiet…” which is as good as anything on the first half of “Finding Your Heart Again”.
And while most of the second half of “Finding…” entered deeper cut territory and admittedly most of those songs run together for me, there are identifiable hooks that I love on each of them which give them individuality to make them stand out for me.
Outside of a couple of tracks, that strength just isn’t there on this latest release. The hooks aren’t as memorable, and the songs meander a bit more than normal, though these two points could be related.
That said, it’s certainly not a bad record – it just doesn’t stand out like their previous last few releases have for me and I don’t see myself returning to it often unlike the rest of my favorite records in their discography.
The Quiet You Keep From Company Review Score: 3/5
For the first time in a few releases, Daly’s Gone Wrong’s brand of fluid song structure feels more like a liability without their typical, higher ratio of hits to misses with regards to hooks that I’ve grown accustomed to over their last few records.
With that in mind, I give it a 3 out of 5. I recommend checking out “It’s Already Tomorrow in Australia” if you like frenetic, unbridled rock and huge hooks.