Review Summary: A good start for a superb band.
If you start listening to this album after hearing Fake History, you will be rather surprised by what you find. This is a very different Letlive. Throw any expectations you may have for this album away, and you may find something to like here. Letlive didn't always create masterpieces such as "Muther" or "Renegade '86". No, they had humbler beginnings. Speak Like You Talk, the band's first, mostly overlooked full-length album, shows a slightly more raw side of the band. Though overshadowed in every way by Fake History, this album is a great example of a band that was already good, but took that and refined it into something amazing.
The first thing I noticed when I started listening to this was the vocals. The cleans sound like Vic Fuentes sucked up a little helium (for the misinformed, that is not a good thing). That's not to say they're unbearable, because they aren't. If I hadn't heard Fake History before this, the vocals most likely would not be an issue for me. But my brain and ears can't help but expect the cleans from Fake History. However, when the cleans deteriorate into screams, the vocals move closer to the sound found on Fake History, and are just as enjoyable here as they are there.
The instrumentation is mostly great. There is some cool guitar work on the album opener, "City of Champions," and "Stigmother." The drums blend well with the guitar, and make for a pleasurable listening experience, as long as Butler isn't singing. There isn't really anything wrong with the instruments at all. Even the bass, when you can hear it, is pretty good, and fits the song.
It's obvious that this will be compared to their newer release. But the thing is, the only thing they have in common (besides the genre) is Jason Butler on vocals. The band at this point in time was completely different. The lyrics are just as good as on Fake History, and the instrumentation is solid as well. If you're a fan of Letlive, you owe it to yourself to give this a listen. It's a worthy start for the band and shows what they are capable of doing, even if they didn't quite pull it off on this album.
City of Champions
Punk's Not Dead, Jesus Is