Lifehouse
Smoke and Mirrors


3.0
good

Review

by Jared Ponton EMERITUS
February 27th, 2010 | 23 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You might as well just listen to it now before you become really sick of it when it is overplayed in the near future.

Jason Wade and post-grunge/pop-rock Lifehouse first made it big in the beginning of the last decade with the release of the colossal, chart-climbing single, “Hanging By A Moment”. A quick fast forwarding to the present day now finds the band that first stemmed from Christian-rockers Blyss having have made a career of releasing albums with a couple of chart-worthy,market torpedo songs, meticulously crafted into direct shots at the love-longing listeners that occasionally kept their XM radios tuned to a routine Top 40 station. Ever so slowly, the California-originated band has fine-tuned their brand of contemporary pop-rock from release to release – their last album, Who We Are, being what many considered to be their most consistent album yet. Smoke & Mirrors, while sporting an album title that a band making this type of radio rock should probably avoid christening their work with, is Lifehouse’s next release and continues the fine-tuning even further in the quartet’s sound. The end result is an album that the fans can truly be proud of and enjoy.

The premise of Lifehouse’s work remains largely unchanged on new album Smoke & Mirrors. The lyrics still deal with love/loss relationship topics, growing stronger as an individual, and really just the type of stuff that is generally heard from pop-rock bands known to control the radio waves. The improvement, when compared to the band’s past work, however, is really heard in how well the hooks of the music come into play behind vocalist Jason Wade with the band’s blend of effects and guitars. “All In” sets the pace for the album with a rather slow tempo for an introduction track; Wade comes in with his smokey yet not-too-gruff delivery – back off Nickelback – to deliver the expected slow build in the verse that climaxes into a chorus that is just set to grab the radio charts by the reigns - and probably won’t be letting go for a while either. Likewise, the next three tracks follow this formula with differing sets of lyrics to deliver similar successes in the art of pop-rock – “Nerve Damage” actually throwing in a surprisingly polarized tempo change that’s executed quite well.

“It Is What It Is” – which could actually just be viewed as a descriptor for the type of music bands like Lifehouse make these days, no" – cuts the distortion down for a proper ballad-paced heart-grabber. ‘Somewhere in this city is a road I know / Where we could make it / Or maybe we can’t make it all’, finds Wade in a depressed, giving-up mood - something fans may not be used to - but the songwriter’s caprice is a welcome change – a bit more realistic, and, as a result, more able to relate to a number of listeners. Likewise, “From Where You Are” follows next and plays the part of Smoke & Mirrors’ re-creation of 2005’s hit, “You and Me”. Lifehouse’s strong suit is certainly in the area of crafting commercial radio ballads, and this album delivers in spades. “Falling In” stands in line for a radio catapult as well – yes, again – but it’s in “Wrecking Ball” where we find this album’s strongest track. Beginning on a stop-start riff and a different vocalist, Bryce Soderberg (the bassist) comes in with his tale of self-destruction. The chorus enters in, lights the fire, and a healthy fill-in of “Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh” keeps the flames going to last through the night. Everything that follows after this track is, by now, standard fare, but that’s really only because “Wrecking Ball” comes in and destroys any need you might have previously had for a pop-rock blast.

Smoke & Mirrors is Lifehouse’s best release, moving ahead of 2007’s Who We Are in quality, and is just standing in anticipation to be thrown to radio stations across the US – or even the world. Taking the music at face value, however, ‘it is what it is’, to be honest, and won’t excite those that hate this kind of music or cause the band to gain any awards in the future. Still, this is finely tuned pop-rock that is inoffensive, catchy, and actually really consistent throughout. Though I doubt I will continually spin this in the future, I can say that if I happen to hear “Wrecking Ball” playing on the radio, I won’t hesitate to hum along to its melody, if not full-out just sing to it while on my way to work in my car. Smoke & Mirrors stands ready to conquer Top 40 radio and many television, night drama soundtracks; you might as well just listen to it now before you become really sick of it when it is overplayed in the near future.



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Chart.
3.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
February 27th 2010


6358 Comments


Stream:

http://www.myspace.com/lifehouse

Digging: Clark - Clark

Crysis
Emeritus
February 27th 2010


17360 Comments


Definitely remember these guys from a while ago. Keep the reviews coming dude, don't abandon us for your new staff positions (gratz on those btw).

Ponton
Emeritus
February 27th 2010


6358 Comments


Thanks, Crysis. I appreciate it. I plan to definitely review here whenever there's some downtime on those.

Crysis
Emeritus
February 27th 2010


17360 Comments


Is there a quota you'll have to meet or is it just whenever you feel like it?

Emim
February 27th 2010


27626 Comments


You ended that sentence with a preposition, you bastard!

Nice review though, man. Always been a fan of these guys.

Ponton
Emeritus
February 27th 2010


6358 Comments


The first one I got generally gives promos out at least a week in advance of the the album's release, and I have to get the review out as soon as possible, though they don't want me to rush it. The second gives promos too sometimes, but the administrator is a lot more lenient with what types of stuff I can cover and when I can post it too.

Good catch, Emim. Thanks and fixed.

Emim
February 27th 2010


27626 Comments


Ha ha, I was just playing around (that's a quote from Stargate).

EVedder27
February 27th 2010


6088 Comments


Great review Jared, remember the singles from these guys back in the day, but was never really interested.

Savemeimdtba
February 28th 2010


1 Comments


Hey, I mostly agree with your review - just wanted to point out one thing. That song you love so much is not Jason singing, it's Bryce (the bassist). Other than that, I agree with what you said... Here's my review: http://yournextdisaster.sweet-catastrophe.com/?p=1597

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 28th 2010


28120 Comments


i enjoy lifehouse every now and then. i should listen to this, but i can't escape the feeling that i'll be disappointed

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

Ponton
Emeritus
February 28th 2010


6358 Comments


That song you love so much is not Jason singing, it's Bryce (the bassist)


Very good catch, and you are right on that. I will fix it. I like your review, by the way.

jingledeath
February 28th 2010


7101 Comments


my friend told me to get this but i'm probably not going to

Ponton
Emeritus
February 28th 2010


6358 Comments


Yeah, this is something you would hate, jingle.

tripleb2k
March 6th 2010


217 Comments


heard Here Tomorrow Gone Today... wtf happened to these guys? it's cool to hear something other than ballads but that song is just a standout mess.

jamie123465
March 6th 2010


7 Comments


This is more of a commentary than a review and that takes away a lot of the credibility you might have had otherwise.

Ponton
Emeritus
March 6th 2010


6358 Comments


Explain man, I don't understand what you mean.

Romulus
March 6th 2010


8504 Comments


No idea what jamie's talking about, review is great. Pos'd.

Ponton
Emeritus
March 6th 2010


6358 Comments


Thanks, Rom. I'm not sure what I did to upset that guy, but he's done this on another review too.

mvdu
March 7th 2010


760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's their best since No Name Face IMO.. thanks for the review, since I had almost forgotten about them based on recent outings.

Lukeskoop
March 10th 2010


126 Comments


Halfway gone or First time?



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