Poster Children – Daisychain Reaction

Daisychain Reaction is the third full length release from Poster Children, which was produced by Steve Albini. It first came out in 1991 and was re-released on vinyl in 2016 following the band’s 25th year anniversary. 

This album enjoys a large leap in production value from the DIY methods of their previous release. Albini captures the live rock sound of the era, and if you’ve lived through the 90’s this whole record might feel nostalgic to you. The sound is so distinct and familiar to that time that one can’t help but wonder how much musical influence Poster Children has had on bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Hum. I mention those two specifically as there are a lot of overlaps on their sound. Daisychain Reaction’s style stands in between post-punk and alt-rock. Like some sort of a missing link that bridges these genres together. As it stands, this album is a great time capsule and encompasses a lot of 90’s rock with different shades in between.

First and foremost, the presence of punk-adjacent music seems to be the minority in this record, which is quite weird as this is the band’s mainstay. Although they’re the catchiest cuts in the album, they have a relatively short presence. There’s the single “If You See Kay” which has a funky and jittery rhythm with an abrasive attitude to it. “Cancer” spews acidic vitriol with Rick Valentin denouncing societal norms in a frenzy of grinding riffs and “Want It” is a short-fused sweaty romp.

These songs are all par for the course, but what dominates this record and stands out as highlights are the alt-rock grungy guitar-swelling extravagance that dominated the decade. Which begs the question: how is this band so unknown and underrated? As they clearly have a good grasp of this style. Opener “Dee” has waves of crashing riffs, punchy yet restrained drums that evoke an overwhelming feeling . A testament that Poster Children can pull off the heavy slow-burning rock song like the best of them. 

Similar highlights include “Space Gun”, which blends grunge and explorative space rock, with a soft touch in its soft-loud dynamics that gives the song plenty of interesting nuances. If that’s not enough, the bold and swerving guitar riffs at the bridge moves into a bright and triumphant end. “Water” similarly maneuvers high and low tides of heavy guitar textures and weaves them masterfully into a symphony. There’s plenty more in this record, and honestly the consistent quality in here is quite staggering. From production, songwriting and execution, no punches were pulled in the crafting of this record.

Daisychain Reaction captures the music of the era while providing a smart and fresh take that only Poster Children can provide. If you’re feeling nostalgic or looking for underappreciated albums of that era, give this album a listen.

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