More Than Life
What's Left of Me


3.3
great

Review

by Jom STAFF
April 15th, 2014 | 39 replies


Release Date: 04/22/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What good is your heart if it doesn't break?

I readily admit to having had a privileged upbringing - loving parents, solid friends, good health, a productive [non-journalism] career - and the knowledge that, all things considered, I haven't really experienced much of anything while on Earth so far. Day and night exist - even if it's difficult to distinguish at dusk - but I tend to be a bit leery of chronologically young bands utilizing a heart-on-sleeve approach to their writing. What would early-twentysomethings really know about despair and hopelessness playing in a band in the UK? The Bath-based outfit gave listeners a scare two years ago when they wrote that they were playing their last European tour in March 2012, only to renege by saying they would record a self-titled record in 2013. As terrific as Love Let Me Go was - 2010 was a strong year for punk in general - the sequence illuminated the band's lack of maturity and sense of perspective.

The aforementioned self-titled 2013 record gradually metamorphosed to What's Left of Me, and while the lyrical imagery of despondency, regret, and anguish exists in spades, the melancholy is partially counterbalanced with themes of confidence and hope. Further, there's a palpable sense of growth and maturity between What's Left of Me and Love Let Me Go, and the former's strengths are augmented thanks to the recording and mastering efforts of Neil Kennedy (Last Witness, Landscapes) and Alan Douches (Brand New, Converge), respectively. The guitars are again the most captivating element on What's Left of Me, but are more melodic and aesthetically balanced without neutering the compulsory aggression. A quintessential example is the in-like-a-lion "Weight of the World", blitzing listeners with Tony Klein's pounding percussion and Joey Bayes's resonant guitar. The track, which follows a sleepy, solemn opener in "Asleep", is wonderfully punctuated by James Matthews' yelps ("I'm sorry I was never there," he pines, illustrating his repentance, "But at the time, I didn't really care"). His clean vocals in the verses further amplify the song's gusto, but are better-placed in the album's heavy, dissonant title track. In "What's Left of Me", his hoarse pleading is underscored by an vigorous bass line, providing decidedly sturdy support in the latter half of What's Left of Me's emphatic 1-2 punch.

Although the vitriolic tirades are the band's bread-and-butter, there are a number of songs that gravitate more towards an alternative keel: look no further than lead single "Do You Remember" with its interwoven vocals and atmospheric backdrop. I know I railed against lyrics that pass as awful, underdeveloped adolescent poetry earlier, but "Do you remember that awkward smile when we first met / That childish love we should have kept? / Do you remember falling in and out of love and hate together, do you remember the good times as well as I do? / Feels like it should have lasted forever" is beautifully nostalgic and immediately relatable. We might believe - for better or worse - that we have our shit together, but still be guilty of feeling young and naive.

There are some additional ingredients thrown into the album - the strings in the final half of closer "Love is Not Enough", the meekly spoken vocals in the introspective "Threshold" paling in comparison to the warmer guitars, the pensive piano in "Do You Remember" - but they are not particularly effectual. Songs like "Seasons Change" and "You're Not Alone" come and go, but the guitars fail to clamor for attention in the same way that "Sometimes"' captivating riffs or memorable lead guitars do, or the manner in which "Weight of the World"'s cathartic energy is engrossing. While there is greater variation in vocal delivery here than on past works, not all of it is engaging. In fact, on What's Left of Me, More Than Life are not at their best when straddling the hardcore/alternative fence, but when their penchant for anthemic melodies shines brightest. Because it showcases the band's maturity and solidifies their hold as one of the UK's most promising hardcore acts, What's Left of Me is a valuable addition to the band's catalog and certainly meets expectations; however, its vitality going forward might run shorter than expected.

Jom recommends:

"Weight of the World"
"Sometimes"
"What's Left of Me"
"Do You Remember"




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Comments:Add a Comment 
ProjectFreak
April 15th 2014


1432 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Huh, I'll give this a shot.

Also whoo a Jom review! It's like a four-leaf clover.

Hep Kat
April 15th 2014


15356 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

what good is ripping off ceremony lyrics if you dont make GUWOP $$$$$$$$$$

Hep Kat
April 15th 2014


15356 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

everything real though, this was disappointing. the manners LP is a much better listen for this style of hardcore

fromtheinside
April 15th 2014


19029 Comments


wow who is this reviewer

makes me miss 2010

Digging: Ibex Throne - Ibex Throne

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2014


6268 Comments


Summary is so win

Digging: Electric Moon - Innside Outside

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2014


20058 Comments


great review as always Jom

Digging: Trophy Eyes - Mend, Move On

Jom
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2014


2689 Comments


GUYS THIS IS MY IDEA OF A SHORTER REVIEW

hope u dont mind

>> everything real though, this was disappointing. the manners LP is a much better listen for this style of hardcore

be sure to keep recommending punx so as to not further disappoint bb

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2014


50845 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

New Manners is way better agreed

Damnit Jom I was going to post my review for this today

Digging: Bobby Barnett - Little Wounds

ti0n
April 15th 2014


1553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cool review cool album

Digging: The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

greg84
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2014


7428 Comments


Great review, Jom. I won't probably check it out.

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

ShitsofRain
April 15th 2014


5942 Comments


now i have to listen to it again

RogueNine
April 15th 2014


1357 Comments


Yes! A Jom review.

ti0n
April 15th 2014


1553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@malenchanted
what do you expect with a castlevania 2 pic? :P

Sanders
April 15th 2014


2361 Comments


Quiet spell at work Jom? This is a suspicious number of reviews...

Sanders
April 15th 2014


2361 Comments


Also, out of interest how is this similar to 'Hours'? Just to see if I'd be interested

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 15th 2014


23964 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

: (

Digging: Taylor Swift - 1989

pmmets07
April 15th 2014


5913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This sounds like Basement meets MLIW

Jom
Staff Reviewer
April 15th 2014


2689 Comments


>> Also, out of interest how is this similar to 'Hours'? Just to see if I'd be interested

They're supporting Funeral for a Friend on tour, hence the recommendation more than anything - it's not an even comparison. Hours is a pretty stacked album and has a bit of a post-hardcore flair to it; this is muddier and more pop-oriented.

Evreaia
April 16th 2014


4047 Comments


dat album art is fucking sexy

Digging: Grouper - Ruins

botb
April 16th 2014


9751 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i listened to this once and haven't since... sigh

Digging: Solstafir - Ótta



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