Live Music - ROUGH TRADE
FILTER Grade: 76%
By TALEEN KALENDERIAN on November 3, 2011
Dear Strange Boys,
I picked up Live Music excited to see you maturing from your high school garage days. At first listen, you’ve gotten stranger. Are you, too, suffering from a quarter-life crisis? When you employed fuzz before, it was an aural attack. All that remains of that youthful angst is the grit of your voice, Ryan Sambol. Don’t get me wrong, piano riffs are as badass as the guitar twang is priceless, especially inviting with the impressive arrangement on “Me and You.” Halfway through, there’s a welcome style shift pick-up with a rock-and-roll speed tribute (“Omnia Boa”). As good as it sounds on you, you’ve almost abandoned those roots for folk. WTF?
Live Music regresses into stylistic confusion, but the gems are worth the wait: the dissonant teaser in the middle of “Saddest” fuses your previous sound with updated song structures. Fallen in love with ballads since Be Brave, have you? Those tracks outshine the flaws here.