EVERY TIME I DIE- Ex Lives
This is great. 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, awkward even, and is no knockout blow. Don’t go crazy internets, ‘Ex Lives’ is crammed with quality, but unlike what you may have heard, it’s not the band’s return to the raw punk of old that rules. Sure, spiky blasts of noise like sweet first single ‘Underwater Bimbos…’ might please fans of ETID’s early 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 pit-starters but without a secret centre, some weird, killer hook, they feel unfinished, fighting the thick production job for attention, destined for only short stints on the band’s future set lists.
What works better is the new ground the band break, pushing and shoving that same attitude 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.