It’s really a treat to watch an artist blossom gracefully as they release new music that they believe in. Chase Tremaine has returned with his third full-length studio album, Accidental Days, that was produced by Brendan St. Gelais, and Tremaine really does a great job of capturing what I love most about guitar-driven pop songs. Tremaine has mapped out a comprehensive musical landscape that could very well be his best work yet, and it’s certainly my favorite of his to date. Through these ten songs that are filled with passion and purpose, Tremaine makes Accidental Days a labor of love, while wearing his influences of bands like Thrice, Mae and other prominent artists in the scene into a beautiful composition of music.
Opening the set with “One Day,” Tremaine begins with a complex guitar riff before breaking into the first lyrics of the album. The album title of the LP comes from the second verse of, “All these accidental days / Spent trying to make sense of each plight Yet I’m bare again / All striving to dig our graves / Til that becomes where we spend the night / Now I’m buried in / All these debts to earn my stay / Forgetting the load I’m offered is light / Still I’m carrying,” that is concise and bleeds nicely into the anthemic chorus. The drum fills in the background are powerful, and give the song a gritty edge to it. “Distracted” follows the great opener with some personal lyrics about Tremaine’s connection to his spiritual beliefs, as he admits in the bridge of, “God is breaking my heart before I can give it to you / God keeps breaking my heart before I can give it to you / But I don’t want to lose you before I can prove it was / True what we had / Real what we held / All the ways we felt alive / Wishing to look in your eyes one last time / With no risk of becoming blind, blind / Blind to what God’s doing.” The pulsating bass line throughout the track really sounds great, and allows for the guitars layered over it to remain the star.
The first single to be released from the set, “Tired Side of Content,” is a great choice to introduce the sound that Tremaine went for here, and it reminds me a bit of Third Eye Blind with its focus on vocal-driven pop rock. What he does best on songs like this is build up to a raucous chorus that demands audience interaction. When Tremaine tests these songs out in a live setting, you can pretty much guarantee this will be a solid moment in his set. The guitar tones to close out the song are particularly well-constructed and the repeated riff haunts as much as it prepares the listener for the middle section of the record.
”Heart Reset” was previously released in an EP called My Heart Settled in the Middle, and it makes even more sense within the context of these songs that surround it on Accidental Days. Tremaine reflects on his new marriage and his songwriting craft as he croons, “I’d write you a love song to wrap up the day / But unfinished verses would keep me awake / Why can’t my mind put you to rhyme? / I’m finished ignoring the problems that stayed / And not done exploring the prices we paid / Where’d the time go, who knows, who knows?” His way of admitting the struggles he faces as a songwriter are genuine and come across as very authentic, and never forced.
”Middle Of My Words” was the first song that I heard from Accidental Days, and still hits as hard as the first time I put my ears on it. The guitar groove in the pre-chorus is one of my favorite parts that Tremaine has ever written, and it’s truly a treat to see him develop so gracefully as a songwriter. The back half of the LP opens with some down-tuned guitars in the first bars of “Gloriously Mundane” that reverberate over the speakers and are filled with lush bass. Tremaine never allows these aggressive guitar chords to overpower the song, as his vocals remain light and accessible.
”Settled in the Unsettled” is a song that I wish I could’ve written in my cover band days, but I certainly didn’t have the talent to do so majestically as shown here. It’s a perfect pop song about falling in love head over heels, and I’ve played the track several times for my wife and kids to let them know how pop music should sound like. The piano interlude in the middle is as impressive as it is necessary for the song to unfold, and the near-whispered vocals towards the end of the song are earnest and heartfelt.
The closing trio of “Chosen,” “The Checklist,” and “New Creation Gray” are all well-rounded songs with themes that tackle Tremaine’s relationship with religion, marriage, and finding his own purpose in this crazy life. “New Creation Gray” features a call-back to “Chosen” when Tremain sings, “I’m already past my prime / I never learned to turn back time / Is decay the sentence or the crime? / So blind toward what I forsake / I praise the highs, ignore the ache / Pray life gives me more than death will take / But take what – isn’t life a gift? / And a greater gift is yet to come.” His optimism is contagious and it’s very hard to not root for Tremaine’s success as a songwriter and an artist.
Accidental Days is Tremaine’s strongest effort to date, and he keeps the interest high in his unique blend of guitar-driven, pop rock that is packed with deep dives into the lyrics for the listener to navigate and make their own interpretations of. And that’s pretty much the point of music. To make our own observations through the lens an artist has given us to find connections that we didn’t even know existed. Chase Tremaine recognizes these connections so efficiently and purposefully through each of his heartfelt lyrics, and still keeps the door wide open to the realm of possibilities of where he can take his craft next.