If you are familiar with Letlive, then you will know what to expect. Previous albums Fake History and The Blackest Beautiful are an assault of emotionally charged punk with catchy hooks and soulful yet aggressive vocals and are regarded as two of the finest albums of their genre in recent years. Letlive’s latest release If I’m The Devil… takes a bit of a left turn to see them stepping out of their comfort zone and providing a more streamlined approach to their sound.
Opening with the track ‘I’ve Learned to Love Myself’, we see frontman Jason Aalon Butler opening up and exposing himself, with the music gradually building up and becoming more powerful with strings underlying the guitars. Second track ‘Nü Romantics’ is a decent follow up, but the album doesn’t really get going until the lead single ‘Good Mourning, America’ drops, with its gospel style introduction and bopping chorus intertwined with Butler’s lyrics about police violence, it’s more akin to the Letlive we all know.
Butler really shows off his vocal capabilities on this album and this is especially true on the tracks ‘Foreign Cab Rides’ and ‘Reluctantly Dead’ where the lyrics take more of a front seat. These two songs, although a bit slower tempo, see him reach some incredible vocal melodies backed with some powerful words that come straight from his heart.
The pace is increased again with personal favourite “Elephant” and ‘Another Offensive Song’, the latter of which sounds like an aggressive protest straight off Fake History with the uprising chorus of “It’s not my emotions, it ain’t just in my head, let’s make a motion, with closed mouths we’ll never see it” providing the call to arms. Closing off the album with the title track ‘If I’m The Devil…’ and ‘Copper Coloured Quiet’. These tracks slow the pace down, but again providing more focus on the message the band are trying to get across.
I have to admit that I’ve had to listen through this album more than I expected to really get to grips with it. Full of progression, streamlining their sound and proving themselves as song writers and not just the band famed for their ferocious live performance. Expect this album to take them to new heights and larger stages in the near future.