Review Summary: A poor (poor, poor, poor) man's Glassjaw.
Ahh, Letlive. As an esteemed reviewer once said, if people “let Letlive let loose”, then they will surely win over the hearts of every listener with the catchy, emotional, and spunky post-hardcore sound they perfected on their 2nd LP, “Fake History”. However, on their debut EP, “Exhaustion, Salt Water, And Everything In Between” (ESWAEIB), there is no potential, no uniqueness, and minimal enjoyment to be found. The vocals are borderline horrendous at some points, reminiscent of Craig Owen during the “All’s Well That Ends Well” era, the instrumentation uninspired, and the lyrics undeniably cliché.
Fans are sure to find the soon to be signature style of Jason Butler, the lead vocalist, scattered sparsely throughout the album, but in this case they seem out of place and a more like a failed attempt at originality rather than pure awesomeness like on “Fake History” (read: This reviewer really likes Fake History). These odd laughs here or there, angry growls that build up, and other techniques of the sort are not utilized appropriately until their second LP. Besides the quirkiness, the clean vocals on this album are, as mentioned before, Craig Owens tenfold. I’m one of the few that actually has many early Chiodos
songs in my top favorites, and can honestly say I don’t even mind Craig’s "unique", high pitched voice. However, Jason Butler’s version of this is grating. It is baffling that someone who ends up mastering the melodic harmonies later in the band’s career can come off as a rip off of Craig Owens. If you can disregard the cleans, then the harsh vocals are somewhat enjoyable. More or less, the screams are weaker versions of those on “Fake History”, but it’s a mildly pleasant surprise to hear things such as death growls randomly thrown in (‘Comprehension Is Overrated’).
The instrumentation, believe it or not, is filled with mundane “chugs” that are all too common in this genre. Overall, they are very akin to those found in From Autumn To Ashes
’ (FAtA) earlier works: not unique, and noticeably generic. As for being generic, the lyrics follow the same vein as the instruments, but actually exhibit a few rays of promise. The tempos change constantly, depending on the emotional build up and lyrical content, showing promise of strong songwriting in the future, but overall the aforementioned problems constantly make this a difficult album to listen to.
Throughout this debut, Letlive come off as copies of various bands instead of seeming unique. At times they sound like Glassjaw
(a comparison that can be better justified by later albums), which is not bad by all means, but most of the time they appear to be a mix of FAtA and Chiodos
: a potentially lethal combination. For now, however, ESWAETIB can be dubbed as a poor (poor, poor, poor) man’s Glassjaw
. Time to listen to “Fake History” again.
Adjectives Might Work
Comprehension Is Overrated
Nightmare For Care