Past Lives
Strange Symmetry


4.5
superb

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
August 28th, 2008 | 42 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The most exciting new-old band of the year, Past Lives craft the best EP of the year with haunting, exciting songs and a sense of dread.

Formed in Seattle, Past Lives consists of a few members of a dead punk band that no one really cares about anymore. Jordan Blilie on microphones, Mark Gajadhar on the percussions, Devin Welch on the electric guitars, and the incorrigible Morgan Henderson on bass/keyboards/guitars/brilliance. A veritable supergroup of immense talent and musical alacrity, Past Lives suddenly released their debut EP Strange Symmetry to unsuspecting fans August 4th digitally, with a physical release to follow later on November 4th. How does the EP stack in the end? Well, it’s the fickng bombshit.

Clocking in at a perfect 15 minutes, Strange Symmetry is a haunting and musically exciting romp through a post-hardcore-infused post-punk, post-music (!) landscape. Each of the five songs here are entirely different beasts, ranging in measure from feedback filled and bass droning, to oddly paced experimental punk, to macabre rock n’ roll, to the spazzcore of the members past. They pack a full length albums worth of material into Strange Symmetry, and it shows in the freshness of it all.

It starts as soon as the album begins, with the opener “Beyond Gone” starting with chimes and random guitar notes, as Jordan airily sings “Seconds swell swell swell to hours, and hours stack stack stack to days” as the rest of the band kicks in. The rest of the song adds in different elements to the sound without sacrificing the integrity of the track, as it builds into its final distortion filled climax. The title track “Strange Symmetry” takes the opposite route, throwing in your face a guitar riff that won’t leave your head for days. The song is a paradox in itself; it is immensely catchy and easy to listen to due to how alive the band sounds playing it, but there is a definite sense of danger and fright in the music. It’s as if the song could at any moment burst into flames, and from “Strange Symmetry” on that unhinged nature pervades the rest of the EP.

This is probably most due to Jordan Blilie’s strange development as a vocalist. Not blessed with a great voice, nor one that is easily bent to his will, Jordan has instead opted to use this to his advantage to create a haunting presence on the record. His voice sounds pained and forced, but not in the sense it is uneasy to listen to; it’s as if his voice is a monster needing to be restrained. His howls may be helped by tremendous production work, but the music’s darkness is undoubtedly a co-creation between Devin Welch and Morgan Henderson. While Welch provides distorted guitar lines and poppy riffs to give his input into the madness, Henderson’s electronic work on the album gives the music more of that deranged sound. The music can go from poppy goodness to a mess of guitar and synth fury in the matter of seconds, without ever lacking direction.

Strange Symmetry is an outstanding debut for these ‘youngsters’. They take influences from their past on “Skull Lender” to create a song their previous bands would have loved to pilfer. “Reverse the Curse” is one of the most chilling songs of the year, while closer “Chrome Life” succeeds with its groove-centric introduction that leads into the perfect overture of the album; a dark, exciting and surprising journey through Past Lives. It is an almost perfect EP, with absolutely no filler and giving just enough of a taste to leave listeners dying for what a full length album will sound like after even more preparation and tightening of the sound. However, there is one thing I must address…

The question that fans are surely wondering? Hell yes does it live up to The Blood Brothers and then some.

You can listen to the whole album here: http://www.myspace.com/pastlivesmusic



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user ratings (44)
Chart.
3.6
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah this is pretty much the coolest thing you could be listening to at the moment

Kage
August 28th 2008


1172 Comments


good descriptions, bro. i feel like i dont even need to listen to this

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't know if that was sarcastic, but you might like this or you might find it stupid. Not quite sure with you.

edit: http://www.myspace.com/pastlivesmusic

you can listen to the whole EP there, albeit they make it shuffle so you hear it out of order.This Message Edited On 08.28.08

PatchworkNeurology
August 28th 2008


352 Comments


Great review man, killer album.

"Formed in Seattle, Past Lives consists of a few members of a dead punk band that no one really cares about anymore."

That part had me lol'ing.

flamethisuser
August 28th 2008


395 Comments


Jordan has instead opted to use this to advantage to creat a haunting presence

typo*

good review though.

Mikesn
Emeritus
August 28th 2008


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

post-music (!) landscape
lol

listening now, sounds alright

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


17231 Comments


Past Lives is proof that Johnny Whitney should just kill himself now.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

what how so

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


17231 Comments


because jaguar love is a complete and utter failure compared to this.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Johnny whitney has the potential to make great music still (see Neon Blonde). Jaguar Love just happened to fail pretty badly at what it wanted to do.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


17231 Comments


true... Chandeliers in the Savannah was pretty kick ass. (hides tail between legs) This Message Edited On 08.28.08

The Jungler
August 28th 2008


4827 Comments


not that good.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

jaguar love is great you g uys are idiots

brandtweathers
August 28th 2008


2007 Comments


YES!!(@*$&!!!

Formed in Seattle, Past Lives consists of a few members of a dead punk band that no one really cares about anymore

wtfThis Message Edited On 08.28.08

brandtweathers
August 28th 2008


2007 Comments


where can i fuggin buy this???

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


17945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's only a digital release as of right now

brandtweathers
August 28th 2008


2007 Comments


where can i buy it digitally?
checked suicide squeeze and pastliveslife.com
edit: nm... online store is undergoing maintenance This Message Edited On 08.28.08

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

You can just listen through their myspace, or download it through other means. The band is pretty okay with that.

brandtweathers
August 28th 2008


2007 Comments


^word. there are a dozen or so acts that i do give support to regularly.
these guys (ex bb) fall into that category.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2008


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

As much as I love this, just wait for the physical releases to support them imo.



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