Band: Letlive. Album:If I’m The Devil … Genre: Soul punk, post-hardcore Date of release: 10/06/2016 Location: United States Reviewer: Peyton Bernhardt For fans of: Counterculture
1. I’ve Learned To Love Myself
2. Nü Romantics
3. Good Mourning, America
4. Who You Are Not
5. A Weak Ago
6. Foreign Cab Rides
7. Reluctantly Dead
9. Another Offensive Song
10. If I’m The Devil…
11. Copper Colored Quiet
Over half the press coverage published in respect of the new Letlive. album If I’m The Devil … have said something along the lines of the act having chucked a 180 and become an entirely different band. “It’s a good thing”, they stress, that there’s more melody and less yell. “It’s just different”. We’re calling that out. Sure, maybe they’ve evolved. They’ve definitely experimented. But is that a departure from what they usually do? Is it a variation on the exploratory soul punk ethos underpinning their entire discography? No, no and absolutely not. We’d be lying if we hyperbolically said it was.
First, the soul component. Underlying everything that frontman Jason Aalon Butler sings is a distinctly recognisable influence that prompts him to express himself with more skill than any other vocalist in the scene. ‘Foreign Cab Rides’ is your best representation of his mad pipes on this record, but a quick spin of any of these tracks should do the trick. Musically, while darker instrumentals dominate, they co-exist with eclectic shades throughout its whole run through; if you skip the intro notes of ‘Who You Are Not’, you’re missing out on this dynamism and you should be ashamed of yourself.
On the other hand, despite its dalliances into different conventions and indeed, lack of convention, the punk personality of Letlive. is still very much pervasive. In terms of rebellion, the place of single ‘Good Mourning America’ on the LP is still as functional as ever in giving you goosebumps and verifying the enduring power of the protest song. If that’s not enough for you, ‘Another Offensive Song’ has got your resistance-through-stereo needs covered. The difference between your average ‘anarchy and equality 666 PUNK’ band and Letlive. is that these tracks are realistic. They’re born from experience and they actually want to change your mind about modern issues. Letlive. don’t get their anger from Tumblr posts and chatboxes.
Playing this album will be an education as much as it’ll be a goddamn jam. ‘I’ve Learned To Love Myself’ is Butler saying he’s developed. ‘Good Mourning America’ is Letlive. saying “rid your privilege”. If I’m The Devil … is sitting on the shelf/Kingdom Leaks saying “I’m your album of the year”.
Vocals: 10/10 Lyrics: 9/10 Guitar: 8/10 Bass: 8/10 Percussion: 8/10 Songwriting: 10/10 Production: 10/10 (thank God, after whatever the production on The Blackest Beautiful was) Personal Enjoyment: 11/10 Overall IPHYB Rating: 9/10