by Maury Brown (source article)
The second album by Metts, Ryan, & Collins was forged during the height of the pandemic and with it pushes the band into new horizons where they truly let “no days be wasted.”
Talk to musicians and it can be hard to see the positive out of the pandemic. During the lockdown of 2020, many bands went into hibernation, and live music all but dried up.
Spend some time thinking about where we were and where we are going and the best of the best adapted to the constraints. Some have thrived, and that’s certainly the case of the sophomore album by Portland, OR-based MRC with No Days Be Wasted.
Those familiar with their initial four-song EP or debut album Homegrown will know that the power blues-rock trio instantaneously sounds one-part familiar yet not an American original. Be it the Small Faces, the Stones, and AC/DC, the band comprised of Geoff Metts (guitar, lead vocals), Dain Ryan (bass, vocals), and Mike Collins (drums, vocals) poured the lessons from the live music experience and took it into the studio. With the pandemic, the band had two choices: stop what they were doing or take advantage of the inability to play live.
“There were a couple of months where I didn’t see the guys,” Metts says. “We met at our rehearsal space and just started building songs out. Except for Complicated, which I had demoed at home, it wasn’t me or one of the other guys coming with full songs. It was someone coming with a riff here and riff there and going through to completion. It was a more organic process.”
With the process, the tracks for No Days Be Wasted get you to a familiar destination but takes a more scenic route. There are no hard lefts or rights — the album feels like the band — but instead, you feel like the vistas have expanded. The views are wider. And that the journey through the recording process walks that fine line of growth for the band without it becoming jarring. Tracked over a matter of months, a song would come together and then tracked rather than have all the material composed at once.
“It’s a compilation over a period of time that’s a pretty interesting period for the band,” Metts said.
Recorded mostly at Portland’s Primal Recording Studio with Kevin Hahn (Paul Gilbert, Tommy Love) lending to production and engineering, the ten-track album is a romp. opening with the up-tempo Say What I’m Thinkin’ to the anthemic Can’t Stop and Old Hannah you get that power blues, gospel, foot stomp vibe in spades. But from there the album moves into new territory for the band. Half The World Away marries the blues with ska, Careful What You Wish For has one of those funky riffs that make it impossible not to groove. The album sees its warm interlude with the acoustic Complicated, before peeling the paint with an instrumental that highlights the band’s prowess and heavy leanings. It’s here the Metts becomes somewhere between Pat Travers and Jimmy Page while Ryan and Collins absolutely lock in the bottom. The piece is dynamic and powerful before double-timing the outro. In the heavy groove vein, Ryan lays down a funky distorted bass riff on Back To Sleep. If you’re wanting your Small Faces/Rolling Stones-type fix, Now I’m On My Way fits the goodness.
But it is the closing track, No Days Be Wasted that epitomizes the band’s ethos and exemplifies how doing an album in the pandemic wasn’t a curse, but a way to take advantage of time.
The band went to the Oregon coast where Hahn pressed the band to write and record the track over the matter of a couple of days, catching lightning in a bottle. And yes, maybe, just possibly it wasn’t just days that were wasted.
At Hahn’s request, he pressed us to do the track that way,” said Metts. “We had just a couple of pieces that we were calling progression A and B and that was it. ‘Don’t overthink it. You’ll figure it out when you get to the coast,’ was what Kevin said.”
Ask anyone when they enter the studio and the clock becomes paramount. Time is money. Getting it down fast and clean is in the back of your mind. With the No Days Be Wasted tracking at a small house on the coast, it lent itself to a more relaxed vibe where the band and Hahn bonded in a relaxed party atmosphere at times where being “wasted” wasn’t a waste of days.
“The whole process was immersive — it was just the four of us. All we did was work on that song,” says Metts smiling.
What the recording process showed is Metts, Ryan, & Collins maturing. The pandemic likely accelerated it. Collins still lays down an incredible beat but sees more of a vocal presence. Ryan expands his grooviness while holding down the bottom. The harmonies by both of them are bolder. And Metts ventures into new territory on guitar and lead vocals. The sound is expansive without the listener feeling lost. All of it will translate well live. And if this is what Metts, Ryan, & Collins can pull off when most of the world was locked up in their homes, one can’t feel like future offerings will be that much brighter. After all, no days be wasted.
No Days Be Wasted is available starting Friday, Sept 2nd on all major streaming platforms, as well as Amazon and Bandcamp for CD purchases. The band’s album release party is Nov. 11 at the Gemini in Lake Oswego, OR.
1. Say What I’m Thinkin’
2. Can’t Stop
3. Half A World Away
4. Careful What You Wish For
7. Old Hannah
8. Back To Sleep
9. Now I’m On My Way
10. No Days Be Wasted