Review Summary: Letlive. reminds us of the roots of post-hardcore whilst having a modern flare and catchiness to it.
It’s an injustice that Fake History went virtually unnoticed for almost a year until it was slated for the Epitaph Records re-issue in April 2011. I mean, this album is oft compared to the likes of Glassjaw’s LPs of the early 2000’s. Yeah, Glassjaw...as in the band who created one of Post-Hardcore’s defining releases in Worship & Tribute. That’s worthy of attention it itself. And it doesn’t seem like *** in comparison.
On the contrary, Fake History is a passion filled full length with loads of talent behind it. Whether it’s eccentric frontman Jason’s insanity-tinged lyrical brilliance (with perfect delivery might I add) or the multifaceted instrumentals that encompass anything from bass driven Latin rhythms (see “Enemigos/Enemies”) to all-out hardcore onslaughts (see “We, The Pros of Con” and “H. Ledger”), the members of ll. know how to perfectly compliment each other. And above all that each song has an undeniable and organic catchiness to it. But that doesn’t really do the band justice until you actually hear it. The fact that you can’t pin them down is what makes letlive. so damn hip. They’re young. They’re catchy. They’re angry. They’re smart. They’re talented. It just works.
The real gems on Fake History, however, prove to be the more atypical ll. songs. “Muther” is a change of pace and is the album’s centerpiece in terms of song order. The mid-tempo song really accentuates Jason Butler’s undeniably impassioned vocals and the interplay between both himself and the featured female vocalist. Check the music video for “Muther” to see what I mean. The piano-driven final two minutes of Jason singing “Dont’cha cry mama, we’ll be okay” is a nice touch at the end and gives way to the following three hardcore bangers. Also album closer “Day 54”, in it’s almost seven minute run time, is the most lyrically moving and sincere song on the record. It’s very personal in nature and deals with the singer’s relationship with those around him as well as his faith.
Post-Hardcore in recent years has taken on new aspects that detract from what the genre was founded on. Overproduction and the liberal use of electronic and dance music (while entirely valid if done right) has taken place of the raw, passionate and not-so-perfect side of the genre. In a scene that seems to be forgetting their roots, letlive. is reminding it’s peers of Refused, At The Drive-In, The Blood Brothers and Glassjaw. ll., with the momentum gained on their re-release and being on bigger tours now, is bringing that sound back, in style. Letlive will not forget it’s roots. Letlive. is what Post-Hardcore should be.