Review Summary: Sometimes, the system DOES work.
Modern post-hardcore is confusingly vague. The genre name has become almost meaningless, having been applied at points in its history to everything from crushingly heavy music to the fluffiest of pop rock. For the past four years, it's been used by labels to refer to overproduced electronic pop music with chugged guitars and screaming added in, targeted at the very sort of trend consuming kids that hardcore was originally a backlash against. Life on Repeat has unfairly been lumped in with these bands; their Warped Tour aesthetic disguises the fact that behind the trendy bull*** lies a progressive and inventively catchy band. While they've since broken up, their posthumous (of sorts) album "Blacklisted" serves as a fitting swan song for the band, exhibiting everything that works about their formula for memorable, hard-hitting music.
Although heavier songs from other bands specializing in poppy post-hardcore often fall flat, being awkward and generic, album opener "Karma Calls" shows it's more than possible to mix pummeling verses with catchy choruses and seem natural and coherent. "Forgotten" combines early 2000s metalcore sensibilities with soaring, anthemic vocals, "Vanity" goes from pseudo-technical guitar riffing to pop punk chords in instants, and "Cut Open" shows the more conventional side of the band, showcasing nothing out of the ordinary instrumentally but still being host to some of the most infectious earworms on the album. The upside to these combinations is that they all work wonderfully - the downside is that they're all based on an easily identifiable formula, making some parts feel interchangeable at times. Luckily, the album is too short and too fun for this to be a deal breaker, but it does hurt the album's longevity quite a bit.
Vocalist Patrick Purves and producer Taylor Larson seal the deal - the album sounds absolutely massive, and the vocals are pristine and polished without losing all of the emotion Patrick throws into them. While this makes them far from the bastion of post-hardcore, it proves that sometimes, lurking in the depths of all of the meaningless, talent-deprived bands signed to hardcore labels that are routinely skimmed over by a large portion of self-respecting music fans, there can be a glittering gem or two. We may never know how Life on Repeat would have further matured as a band, but at least we know that sometimes, the system DOES work.