CD REVIEW: Life Is Here - You're Welcome, Goodbye.
By Chip Withrow - 12/31/2007 - 03:10 PM EST
Artist: Band: Life Is Here
Album: You're Welcome, Goodbye.
Label: Attic Records
Genre: Alternative Metal, Pop/Rock
Sounds Like: '70s power pop meets Replacements
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: <3, Gossiping Makes Your Face ..., Big Fish
OK, so I’m not up-to-the-minute familiar with indie/modern pop rock. When I hear it (often because one of my high school students turns me on to a new band), I often like it. But I listen to it with an ear for history, and when I hear echoes of great sounds of my youth, I tend to really enjoy it. Life Is Here is a catchy, quirky band I can identify with. Its sound is fresh, but on You're Welcome, Goodbye. I can hear hints of Big Star, the Replacements, INXS’s punchier efforts, and even the ‘70s glam rockers The Sweet.
My candidate for most interesting song title I’ve come across in a while is “Gossiping Makes Your Face Look Like a Bulldog Chewing On a Wasp.” It’s an urgent, crunchy-guitar rocker and one of the disc’s highlights. “Teen’s Choice” is another cool in-your-face number – a sneaky bass line lures you in to a power-punk diatribe. And “Taller” is fun and manic, too – big sing-along “whoas” and a breathless lead vocal from singer/guitarist Adrian Silva.
“Big Fish” starts out pretty, a nice respite from the big, loud tunes. A chiming glockenspiel-like sound rings behind the guitars, giving it a They Might Be Giants vibe. But it builds boldly into a sort of arena rock anthem before settling gently to an end. In fact, throughout the disc, the band deftly changes tempos and time signatures within a single song: for instance, the Replacements-like “Damn!” keeps you on your toes with stutter-stop-start drumming. And “La Vida Esta Aqui” starts out mysterious and exotic, with stinging single guitar notes and slightly tremeloed vocals, then thrashes wildly to an end. “La Vida” might have been even more interesting with more tempo difference between the two parts.
The simple “<3” is an absolutely wonderful way to end the album, an appropriate bookend to the adventurous wake-up call opener, “The Truth.” “<3” just singing, acoustic guitar, a tambourine, and shimmering synth strings. It’s one of my favorites, and it made me wish Silva had strummed the acoustic elsewhere on the CD to create even more juxtaposition within the songs.
You’re Welcome, Goodbye. is a fun ride, chiming power pop colliding with metallic, punky blasts. It’s yet another offbeat, yet undeniably rocking, release from Pennsylvania’s Attic Records.
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