Life At These Speeds - To Your Health (2006)
I cant remember who it was that said it, but when I posted the self titled album by Life At These Speeds someone mentioned that they thought To Your Health was a stronger album. At that time I hadn't digested much of the album and it didnt sink in as immediately as the first album did. Well, time has passed, days have changed and To Your Health has found its way deeply entrenched in my life. Its a pretty great album and it is actually a stronger album on the whole than the s/t was, though Birds and Climates is still the hands down winner... for now... Retina is firmly asserting itself as a force to be reckoned with.
The thing about To Your Health that makes it a better album is not just the order of the songs, but the depth of the individual songs. More influences are present on this release, yet to some extent, when I find myself comparing something to many different bands, some that arent really much alike, I tend to find that what it really is is that the album is unique and defies a specific categorization, and my human trait of trying to make things fit wants to slot this into its emo spot or its hardcore spot, but the fact is, I just cant do it. Overall this record leans more towards the breadth of bands like On the Might of Princes or even some of Appleseed Casts work, maybe even a bit like later A Day in Black and White. But thats just scraping the surface. The discordant Dischord sound of their last album is still present and the post-hardcore Quicksand-ish sound is even more present, but not in such a seething, tumultuous way. In fact, the album is more melodic as a whole which in turn makes it a bit more palatable to the masses but with just enough edge to make the diehard feel like they are still getting their kicks.
To Your Health, the title track, has some great dynamic interplay (LOVE that term!) which releases with these arpeggios of twinkling hyper speed guitars and then locks back into the tension. One thing that sticks out to me is that the bass gets a very good spot in the mix, right up front, shepherding those guitar moments when they threaten to escape the bounds of the songs. There are two really good instrumental tracks that are right next to each other, but they seem to be a part of one, so its practically unnoticed unless you happen to notice the track change on your disc player or iPod. Songs like Blocking out the Stars offer another aspect that helps makes this record both varied and intense, and thats the addition of a very authentic mid-90's jangle that is reminiscent of the best of bands like Mineral and Sunny Day Real Estate.
All in all, the multitude of sounds and the addition of better vocals help make this an extremely powerful album, and if it were released this year it would most certainly end up on the best of the year list. So to whoever said it first, you were right, this album is incredible. And to my friend Matt, this post is for you... Make sure you tweak out that next Method Air while jamming these tunes.
Cheers. Happy Friday. Someone get trashed and tell us a good story. If its Lol-worthy than I'll post it up here for shits and giggles.