Review Summary: Lifestory: Monologue show how to stand out in an increasingly stale, pseudo-emotional post-hardcore scene...and then break up.
Do you ever have those moments when you're listening to a band and you just get really emotional over their lack of attention? Well, maybe not. I do, though, and Lifestory: Monologue are number one on my list of bands that invoke such a reaction within me. The fact that this band played their final show in December of 2012 makes this even more depressing. Drag Your White Fur-Make It Grey
is the band's only full length, and although the band is no more, this record surely makes them a band to remember.
Not unsurprisingly, Drag Your White Fur-Make It Grey
opens up with a track that seems to be more of an introduction as opposed to a full song. This opener, “Drag Your White Fur”, mostly consists of bassist Jay Reid singing over a relatively ambient musical background. The song gains momentum as it progresses, and the pretty (I promise you, it's one of the only words that suits these guys) instrumental side of the track sets the mood for the rest of the album perfectly. While the intro is in fact a very enjoyable song, it introduces the listener to one of the very few weak points of the album: Jay Reid's voice. It certainly gets the job done, but Reid's singing isn't really anything to write home about. There's no impressive range or nifty vocal tricks that he has hidden up his sleeve. On the bright side, his voice does fit the instrumental side of the band well enough, and this prevents it from being a drag at any point on the record.
The second track on the album, “Make It Grey”, shows you just what Lifestory: Monologue are all about. Its pretty intro slowly builds up into a moment of rest, then explodes into an equally pretty but simply MASSIVE wall of sound. Following this, the listener hears a heavily rhythm-driven verse featuring vocalist Richard Nuttall's somehow endearing talk-yells for the first time on the album. The most notable detail nearly any listener is likely to notice when being introduced to L:S is Nuttall's rather atypical vocal style. Although once upon a time I would've said that his vocals take a lot of getting into, they're not so inaccessible as they once might have been, with myriad post-hardcore bands featuring talk-y vocals constantly increasing in popularity. Luckily, even the most untrained ear can get used to Nuttall's hearty yell with time. “Make It Grey” continues along at it's stomping pace with a chorus sung by Jay Reid, followed by what is essentially another pretty, yet massive wall of sound until the chaos is broken by Reid's statement that “I would kill for that kind of peace if I could only hide murder in my conscience.” As the listener will soon find out, Reid never seems to find that peace, but it certainly doesn't prevent him from closing “Make It Grey” on a strong note.
Each of the eight tracks following “Make It Grey” are blessedly unique of one another; no two songs on DYWF-MIG
sound too similar to each other, although they are made up of similar elements: pretty, atmospheric music, emotional yelling, and decent-to-good clean vocals. "Thornberry" stands out from the rest, not necessarily in quality, but due to the fact that it is much more accessible thanks to the greater ratio of clean vocals as opposed to Nuttall's yells. "Teratoma" is another selection that separates itself from the crowd most clearly, except this time by being what is possibly Lifestory: Monologue's heaviest song. This track is a testament to the fact that a band does not need to have any metal influence whatsoever in order to make a song that is absolutely musically crushing. The soft introduction also helps out quite a bit by contrasting heavily with the more aggressive parts of the song.
To be honest, one could go on for days describing the unique qualities of each track on this record. One more important topic must be covered, however, and that is the problems with this album. Fortunately, there is almost nary a flaw to be found, aside from the unremarkable clean vocals. The only other problem one might experience is that, to some ears, this album could be a bit hard to take seriously. The clean vocals are rather poppy and very reminiscent of something that could be eaten up by young teens, and this sort of detracts from the overall impressiveness and epic scale of the album, though only slightly. In the end, each song on Drag Your White Fur-Make It Gray
is delightful in its own way, and deserves at least a few listens. The band itself is entirely unique from any other musical entity I have yet to listen to. From the quiet opening lines of “Drag Your White Fur” to Richard Nuttall's savage description of the cancer deep inside him in “Lessons”, Drag Your White Fur-Make It Grey
is an absolute musical treasure. Pretty atmospheres, catchy choruses, emotionally charged lyrics and vocals, and the musicians' sheer skill at making music sound both massive and beautiful at the same time all join together to make Lifestory: Monologue an easy choice on any post-hardcore fan's favorites list.