Review: letlive. – The Blackest Beautiful

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letlive.

The Blackest Beautiful

Release Date: July 9, 2013

Epitaph Records

Rating: 6.5/10

The notorious soulpunx kings in letlive. have returned with their follow up to 2010’s major label debut, Fake History. Titled The Blackest Beautiful, it once again features the band’s signature instrumental chaos backing up Jason Aalon Butler’s melodic clean singing and maniacal screeching, that make the record about as catchy as it is spastic and abrasive.

At this point however, lost somewhere between Glassjaw and The Chariot, letlive. almost seems confused about where they are and where they want to go with their sound. Butler’s vocal patterns will suddenly veer in directions that stray from what the song seems to really call for, and almost makes the song lose some purpose. For instance, in “White America’s Beautiful Black Market,” his range is just too scattered and the transitions seem more like derailments. Beyond that, slight overproduction takes away from the organic, raw-yet-accessible feel that the band really trademarked on Fake History.

All that said, the songs still either sustain a fiery high-energy pace or a slower, groovier, more soulful one for the most part (the latter allowing for some cool experimentation), and even when it gets a little too disorganized or difficult to follow, a tasty hook or “dope beat” is likely to draw you right back in and get you singing along and/or dancing.

In fact, my favorite moment on the entire record is just that: the chorus that hits at 1:50 of “Banshee (Ghost Fame)” is a perfect sing-along that soars over a sweet groove. Some of the transitions in the song (like others) seem a little too random to be effective, and when they pile up, they just become sort of a big roadblock to the songs’ progression. So basically, when you’re listening to these songs, expect to be looking for specific moments rather than a full-on enjoyable listen.

-Ricky S