We’ve not come across this band before. From what we can tell from other reviews, their previous albums have mixed raucous punk with soul; singer Jason Aalon Butler is revered by fans as a genius, and this new album is either brilliant or terrible. One website had two reviews, one good one bad.
We can see both sides of this debate. Butler has a powerful voice and writes lyrics about confronting the realities of life and death. Musically the band is adventurous and you could make comparisons in places with early Linkin Park, melodic rockers Hoobastank and noisemakers Deftones.
The downside is, who wants to go from melodic rock to angry metal in one album? Does the experimentation dilute the record?
The general approach (but not sound) reminded us most of Mina Caputo, born Keith, lead singer of frankly dull heavy metal band Life of Agony but whose solo work is gloriously uncaring of genre.
It’s possible Butler has tired of being a cult hero and wants money in the bank, and this slick heavy rock album has a lot of the stadium about it.
Opener I’ve Learned To Love Myself is a heavy but melodic tune, opening with just vocals, before a big, delayed riff, almost AC/DC. Nü Romantics on the other hand is much tighter and faster, almost a punk tune, as are tracks such as A Weak Ago (Good Mourning, America is another punning title). Reluctantly Dead is an effective rock ballad. There are a couple of tracks we suspect are more Letlive old school, like the frantic, shouty Another Offensive Song.
After a few plays the initial raucousness fades and melody comes to the fore, and it’s an interesting rock album, with politically aware lyrics. Top of the Championship rather than Premiership, but pretty good.