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Daybreak - “Daybreak” (1971) review

Daybreak - Daybreak (Gear Fab Records, 1971/2017)

Operating out of Pearl River, New York, Daybreak came together in 1969. The band played local gigs to enthused audiences, and wound up cutting an album. Originally released on the RPC label in 1971, “Daybreak,” produced only four hundred copies, making it an extremely rare bird. So hooray for Gear Fab Records for hunting this baby down, reissuing it and granting it the wider exposure it deserves!

Rugged and raw, Daybreak captures the band in all its bare bones glory. A truly live feel directs the performances, rendering the album to be a picture perfect example of a basement recording. Such a comment is meant in a good way, of course, as the greatest rock music has always thrived on spontanity and intimacy. Crackling with jagged instrumentation, designed of bruising riffs, wheezing keyboards and primal drumming, Daybreak flourishes with edgy excitement. The vocals fall somewhere between savage and spooky, while bursts of distorted fuzz add an extra heavy duty factor to the proceedings. 

Self-composed tracks like the gutsy “Can’t Get Down” and the haunting “Alone Again” illustrate Daybreak’s own special brand of uniqueness, where covers of “Nights In White Satin” (the Moody Blues) and the suite styled “Monster,” “Suicide” and “America” (Steppenwolf) are further stamped with the band’s free-wheeling personality. Daybreak also pays tribute to Bill Haley and the Comets on a rather straight-forward rendition of “We’re Gonna Rock Around The Clock,” laced with the tooting sound of a saxophone. 

Absent of pretense and polish, Daybreak plugs in as a cool documentation of a band doing what they want to the best of its abilities. For a dose of genuine hard rock, here’s the album for you! 

- Beverly Paterson
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