EVERY TIME I DIE- ‘Ex Lives’
This is good. Of course it is, Every Time I Die haven’t released a bad record, like, ever. But the New Yorkers’ sixth full-length feels a little jittery, busy, awkward even. Oh, ‘Ex Lives’ is marked with quality, but, unlike what you may have heard, it’s not the band’s return to the raw punk of old that most rules.
Sure, spiky blasts of noise like excellently-titled first single ‘Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space’ might please fans of the band’s earliest output (and those who feel the band have strayed too far from the hardcore path in the last decade) but these are consistently the least convincing efforts here. The fact they’ve even bothered with sub-two-minute sluggers like ‘Holy Book Of Dilemma’ and ‘A Wild, Shameless Plain’ feels a little odd. These are solid, fast-paced fuck-you songs but without a secret centre, some weird, killer hook, they feel unfinished, fighting a thick production job for attention, and destined for only short stints on the band’s future set lists.
What works better is the new ground the band break. They don’t change their attitude but push and shove the same spirit into textured, almost alternative rock territory. ‘Typical Miracle’ might be typical Every Time I Die- typically kick ass riffs, typically pounding beats, and Keith Buckley’s typically grizzled howl handling his typically brilliant lyrics- but ‘The Low Road…’ contains twisted, hypnotic vocals, ‘Revival Mode’ is a sleazy, slow-burning sludgefest that could be a total stoner jam if it wasn’t laced with so much subtle venom, and ‘Indian Giver’ is a revelation. A glorious melting pot of Cave In, Converge, Queens of the Stone Age, and, whisper it, the ghost of nu-metal, it absolutely kills and acts as sign of what could have been here and what hopefully is yet to be.