letlive. – If I’m The Devil…
Released: June 10th 2016
Jason Butler – Vocals
RJ Johnson – Bass
Jeff Sahyoun – Guitar
Loniel Robinson – Drums
Genre crossing bands seem to be popping up a lot more often nowadays and in this niche market you can be very hit and miss, especially if you try something completely different to your last album which helped you reach global success… and the new approach sucks. One band that has been doing this SUCCESSFULLY might I add since 2002 is LA post-hardcore act letlive. who over the past 14 years have undergone facelifts in the form of multiple members, different sounds and now completely settling down and putting out some of the best cross over music I’ve heard in years.
These guys have stood their ground and opened up a new way to look at the world though their political stance and opinionated views, very much in a style similar to the great Rage Against The Machine or Rise Against eras of the past. A new generation of fans or activists have sparked up from the topics discussed in their music and previous albums including their last record, 2013’s The Blackest Beautiful and Speak Like You Talk back in 2005. But it was 2010’s Fake History which really put these guys on the map and showcased what they were going to achieve moving forward as a band.
Now we find ourselves on the verge of hearing their new album and I for one and absoltely stoked to get my hands on a copy to share with you and we kick this bad boy off with the opening track “I’ve Learned To Love Myself” which is a slow, somewhat ballad styled song that eases you into the new record and sets up the feelings of what’s to come. The song ends and the pace is set a touch faster with “Nü Romantics” where once again front-man Jason Butler is front and centre capturing our attention, that is until the next song, current single “Good Mourning, America” begins.
The first single from the new album sets up the tone for the record with the focus being on the current state of the Police Department in the United States and how African Americans are still treated differently and disrespected throughout the country. A subject which isn’t new to letlive. (they previously covered the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner and the current domestic terrorism in the States on 2013’s The Blackest Beautiful) only this time around the message they are trying to get across is solidly expressed throughout the song with the help of additional background singers, yet the band comes together perfectly complimenting each other’s performance from start to finish. I could say this is the best song so far but then again we’re only 3 tracks into the new album so I won’t jump the gun yet, instead I’ll move onto “Who You Are Not“. Slowing things down again, this time we’re met with what sounds like a combination of slow jam and moody feels blended with a hint of early AFI songs (The Leaving Song Pt. 1 and a touch of Prelude 12/21 from Decemberunderground) which if you’ve been a fan of both bands, you’ll appreciate this more.
Opening up “A Weak Ago” is Jeff Sahyoun on guitar with an almost rockabilly intro before the rest of the band joins in for the fun. The upbeat sound pulls you in and keeps you hooked on every word coming out of Jason’s mouth. Moving onto “Foreign Cab Rides” we slow things down once again following the audio of what appears to be a foreign cab driver speaking in a language other than English (unless my hearing is off and I can’t understand what is being said), but this is a true ballad style, which easily segues into song #7 “Reluctantly Dead” and its slow pace beginning before it ups the ante for the chorus. If I was to describe this song to someone listening to letlive. for the first time, I’d say it could be their most commercial styled release to date. The idea of hearing this band on commercial radio in Australia excites me, but I know it won’t happen (yet) so I’ll just keep that in the category of “what if” along with all the other bands I’ve said that same thing about over the years.
“Elephant” begins to plan and I immediately think back to what I said earlier in regards to this band being another one of those cross-over acts who have done it well and while I have been sitting here waiting to hear a somewhat hardcore/metalcore song, I have been enjoying what has been played throughout the past half hour. I can picture fans moshing to this one when performed live, but not the thrashing about windmilling, this is more of your jump together as close to the front of the stage as you can get. Mountain bikers would have a field day speeding down the side of a cliff peddling hard to stay in time with the beat. My comment I made before about waiting to hear a hardcore song is answered pretty quickly by “Another Offensive Song” (which might add is far from the truth with this song). It is far from offensive sounding and more welcoming by my heavy loving ears. On the topic of what you could be doing while listening to this song, I imagine driving at 140km/h down the highway, whilst drinking hot coffee and screaming at the top of your longs. Obviously thats illegal, so maybe enjoy this one in the comfort of your house first. It has similar attributes earlier letlive. songs had that we grew to love and appreciate and is a welcoming change from the slow jams we’ve already been though.
As we approach the end of the album, title track “If I’m The Devil” is next leading in with a haunting march beat before Jason’s alluring and captivating voice soothes our ears alongside RJ Johnson‘s simply played bass, however towards the end of the song he opens up more of his abilities and shines bright as the focus point of this time. As we get into the last track of the album, it’s hard to believe how quickly we have reached this time without noticing but “Copper Coloured Quiet” brings back in again the ongoing continuation of the slower feel this whole album has had from start to finish. With lyrics like “We all came to watch your world as it burns” it’s no surprise this song is a stab at those who have done wrong in the past and are now paying for their actions. I can think of at least 3 people off the top of my head who I would love to sing this song to, I’m sure you could be in the same position so when you get your hands on this album, make sure you jump straight to this one and hear what I am.
As the song ends, I’m feeling somewhat fulfilled with how they have approached this album and the style throughout. In the past we’ve heard much more heavier and faster songs from letlive. and this would be an opportunity to show others what they’ve been capable of doing when they’re not thrashing about the place. I liked it, a step away from previous work can be a refreshing twist on what’s to come and if these boys are going to continue with their genre crossing change up style with each album it’ll certainly keep a number of us on our toes awaiting what they come up with next.
“letlive. have found yet another style which showcases their musical abilities and compliments their serious song-writing in a way that’ll make you second guess the world around you. Highly recommended listening.” – Browny
letlive. – If I’m The Devil… tracklist:
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
Pre-Order your copy of “If I’m The Devil” here
Until next time, rock the fuck out