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Division Day - Visitation

Released on Dangerbird, 8/18/09

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Dark and dreamy, tranquil and strange, Division Dayís Visitation is a big step forward for the band.

After the critically acclaimed Beartrap Island, the band were in a bit of an odd place, finding themselves with a much loved album that didnít really represent what they felt they were all about -- and what theyíve come back with after a period of reexamination is rather unexpected. There are a lot of different musical trends and textures going on here: a bit of dreamy pop, a little alt rock, traces of electronica, even a few light industrial touches. The overall feeling is darker than fans might expect from Division Day. The subtlety and sophistication remains, though, leaving the listener with the impression of a band thatís a little older and perhaps more honest.

Visitation is a weirdly soothing album for all its darkness. At its strongest, on tracks like ďAzaleanĒ, itís unexpectedly reminiscent of later, trippier, more psychedelic Pink Floyd. On its less impressive moments it strays into standard emo territory, with a sound thatís, unfortunately, all too common lately. Itís frustrating, hearing what sound like filler tracks in between moments of genuine brilliance. The production helps smooth things over though -- Visitation sounds clean and crisp and unusually well balanced.

Thereís still a fair amount of musical diversity here -- one of the strengths of Beartrap Island, which the band have thankfully retained -- but Visitation presents a Division Day that have found a much clearer sense of who they are and what theyíre trying to say. Although the album drags a bit on some tracks, overall itís a big step forward, and far smoother and more cohesive than anything weíve heard from Division Day before. They remain a band worth keeping your eye on.