Hull four-piece LIFE have served up a sophomore album filled with personable vignettes about (aptly) life, and one that proves their highly acclaimed 2017 debut album ‘Popular Music’ was no fluke.
Starting off with the liberating ‘Good Health’, the beginning of the 13-track punk record is as strong as can be. The titular track about mental health and inner demons that blends anger and aggression with introspection reflects a tinge of the quartet’s journey in making the album.
Describing the process of putting together the record as a time where each member had “a breakdown at some point”, the tracks that infuse punk with elements from other genres are stamped with an authenticity that’s unique to LIFE.
Comprising mainly of a typical punk-influenced soundscape of screeching guitars and thumping drum sets, such as in the blistering riff-filled ‘Moral Fibre’ or the nonchalant ‘Hollow Thing’, there are flavours of experimentation that shines through bright and clear on the record.
The first shift in sound happens on stand-out ‘Excites Me’ - a krautrock-tinged track that layers a traditional psych sound with a dystopian feel. Similarly, the catchy, fast-paced ‘Thoughts’- closing on a refrain reflecting the very essence of humanity “I was thinking about sex, I was thinking about food“ - brings a post-punk intensity to the table, and helps set ‘A Picture of Good Health’ apart.
Next comes (a personal favourite) ‘Never Love Again’, boasting a funky quality that plays around with an uplifting chorus which, juxtaposed with the self-deprecating swagger of ‘Bum Hour’, makes for an interesting shift in energy.
Other tracks like ‘Half Pint Fatherhood’ and ‘Grown Up’ evoke deeply personal experiences through striking lyrical imagery, before ‘ Don’t Give Up Yet’ takes over with its angular guitar sonics. This penultimate track ends in a frenzied chorus before fading into the eccentric poetry of ‘New Rose in Love’.
Near perfect - yet missing the mark slightly with skippable tracks ‘Niceties’ and ‘ It’s A Con’ - the four-piece have still succeeded in making a genuine impact with their music.
Off-kilter energy, and their trademark honesty abound, LIFE - who received accolades such an ‘Album Of The Year’ listing from BBC Radio 1- prove with their second album that they are a quality band capable of making stand-out records more than once.
Words: Malvika Padin
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