Days of the New’s second album, along with NIN’s The Fragile, were probably the two best rock CD’s released in 1999, for one reason: they both defied the strict rules of “rock” music. Both show classical influences, and have the ambition to make themes that tie the albums together. What makes them truly great, though, is that the songs stand up fantastically on their own (this album might have a slight upper hand in that sense). The first 7 tracks on this CD are all beautifully performed acoustic/prog/rock/pop songs, with instrumentals (“Skeleton Key”) and relatively simple but entrancing tunes that create a great, haunting atmosphere (“The Real”, “Weapon and the Wound”). “I Think” is a bit of a misstep, sounding less tuneful or original than almost anything even on Days of the New’s debut album. It’s still a decent song, though, albeit sounding a LOT like unreleased Alice In Chains. That track is just an aberration, though. The songwriting is a big step up on the debut album, where Travis Meeks had already shown brilliance, and the sound is even bigger with the use of an orchestra and many other unique instruments. It’s tempting to say this CD would put off an average pop fan, but the songs are catchy and upbeat enough (in most places) for that to be inaccurate.