Produced to an Instagram vintage and a mind to cut their sugar with bile, rebellion never sounded this volatile or this agreeable. Rock doesn’t fulfil its promises, but The Blackest Beautiful’searnestness and sheer force might restore faith in rock’s dead-end youth.
Is letlive., along with its pouty insistence on lowercase style, the new sound of teen rebellion? Kids are fodder at the cult of rock. Like life, rock promises so much. It embodies fists to the jaw of the man, unlimited sex beyond all moral decency and uncompromising freedom. Ultimately, our bellies are left empty, fed on hope. What about letlive.?
Firstly, we hear a drop of prog in their oceans of hip hop borrowings. The odd lead break dazzle doesn’t go astray either. ‘Virgin Dirt’, abrutish take on the acoustic ballad, hears vocalist Jason Butler clawing at walls. Machine drums rearrange faces and string quartets soothe. Grinding bass bursts through the gates on ‘That Fear Fever’, tempered by Butler’s deceptively sonorous pipes.
letlive. dust off new jack groove in ‘The Dope Beat’, threatening like chain-wielding thugs doing the moonwalk. Butler’s nods to sleek ’90s Motown continues in drum-and-bass-whacked ‘The Priest And The Used Cars’. Gang vocal breakdowns seduce down-tuned axes, emerging a new breed of arena rock sing-along. “I buy my faith when it’s on sale / That’s why my holy water’s stale,” Butler snarls.
‘White America’s Black Market’peaks letlive.’s Motor City worship. Singing angels on high engage thudding percussion devils in combat, all wiped out by white-hot riff fury. Mocking laughter echoes in ‘Pheromone Cvlt’,a perfect 21st Century evolution of nu-metal’s unholy trinity: creepy self-loathing, brooding pop simplicity and brutal heaviness.
BY TOM VALCANIS
The Blackest Beautiful is out now through Epitaph/Warner.