Review Summary: Letlive bring a post-hardcore album fit for many of 2010's best-of lists
Prepare your battle stations, men. For an album has arrived to clear the path filled with much of the vacant, the last nine or ten years of post-hardcore clichés and records-by-records generics and second and third-tier expendables. Shield your face, and open your ears. Pick your favorite Glassjaw
, or what-have-you late nineties/early naughties post-hardcore album, a classic of the genre, and see how it withstands Letlive’s 2010 back-from-hell onslaught.
Oh yes, see how it holds up to something fresh, to something damn catchy, to something that will inevitably make all of the scene-website writers start their classic-rated reviews for it with a nostalgic tidbit on how Thrice
or At The Drive-In
changed their lives as youngsters growing up, only to have Letlive come ten or so years later to collect on the rent. That knock on your door? Get ready. Fake History
awaits you on the other side.
Don’t worry, though, let Fake History
in. Let Letlive let loose, despite any hesitation you may have to admit the album into your listening residence. That’s what it boils down to when trying to fully appreciate Fake History
: When a mass of Silverstein
(s), Hawthorne Heights
(s), and latter day Funeral For A Friend
(s) are what mostly comes to mind when accessing the last five years of post-hardcore, being sure to keep the gems like La Dispute
and Touche Amore
on hold on another line, it’s tough to answer a band like Letlive’s phone calls; it’s tough to trust just another
And you know what? I really can’t blame you, especially when this particular band from Los Angeles was so middle-of-the-road-ish five years ago on their 2005 Speak Like You Talk
album. Letlive were pretty inconsistent, too. But five years can do a lot to a band, a lot
, and if Fake History
is anything to gauge the band’s maturity by in that time, let’s just say that Letlive are now post-hardcore giants, having crafted an album as consistent as it is catchy, as resilient under repeated listens as it is destined for many 2010 best-of lists – post-hardcore and non-genre exclusive in nature.
Holding Fake History
together is a collection of song-specific hooks. That’s right, you heard me: Amidst the sonic chaos brought by Jason Butler’s sublime vocal performance and the duel, surprisingly comfortable guitar attack of the metalcore-esque riffing from axe-men Jean Nascimento and Jeff Sahyoun are the catchy choruses and the things that you will remember going about your day when the album isn’t playing: that riff, that vocal oscillation, or that freaking duet on “Muther”. Oh, “Muther”, damn
, a strong runner for song of the year:”Mother, you know I’m sorry, but sorry’s pregnant with remorse / And when remorse is born, remorse won’t see an ounce of child support.
If Letlive’s Butler has something to say (scream), he’s not gonna give you the classic clichés - or at least, he’ll go the extra mile to present them in his own, unique way, with a by-God catchy hook running beneath it. It’s also the tone and timbre of his voice that he’s got going for him here on Fake History
as well: Pardon the odd comparison, but try your hand at mixing Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
vocalist Ronnie Winter’s harsher pitch, quality amplified by a power of at least seven, and Glassjaw
’s genre-famous Daryl Palumbo together. It’s a voice that’s distinct from the herd yet familiar, but most importantly strong and full of bite in its bark and sweet and fragile in its docile moments.
Butler will have you nodding and singing along to choruses like those in “Renegade ‘86” and “Casino Columbus” and will then, often taking place within the same song, level you into the ground and make you Letlive’s lyrical subjects' bi
tch, as in a latter cut like “H. Ledger” or the early adrenaline pumper, "The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion". There isn’t any of this lag-time in the music’s extremes either: If Letlive want to throw acoustic guitars into “Homeless Jazz”, fine, let them. It works. And if they want to close Fake History
off in “Day 54” with lines like, “to question God is to question my faith / but heaven seems like such a questionable place
” and, one of my favorites, “hate to say ‘I told you so’ / but, ‘I told you so’
,” also, fine, let them.
Because Letlive pull it off here on Fake History
with finesse and a couple things that many post-hardcore bands seem to lack these days. It’s one, a discernible face in the crowd – or at least one you would go out of your way to notice – and two, a vocalist in Butler that covers both the extremes of harsh and clean, frantic and mellow singing perfectly. The duel guitarists and drummer Anthony Rivera don’t get in the way either, if only give solely
a good performance, but not one you would praise beyond the instant of a moment in a song. This is good because Letlive know their strengths here, hooks and Butler, push both ahead to the front, and come out with the best eleven tracks of their career thus far, easily. Fake History
is that for the band, as well as one of 2010's best releases, post-hardcore or not. I'd advice you to get this as soon as you can.