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Album Review: Letlive - The Blackest Beautiful

8 July 2013 | 10:00 am | Brendan Crabb

You’ll need a Gatorade or two to replenish after listening to The Blackest Beautiful. It’ll be energy well expended, though.

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It's difficult to spin The Blackest Beautiful and not immediately associate such a sensory experience with images of madcap frontman Jason Aalon Butler recklessly flailing and writhing as if those limbs were independent of his body. Despite the almost uniformly positive reception afforded breakthrough predecessor, Fake History, the eclectic US rockers have been almost inextricably linked with their live performances, meaning translating such copious amounts of unhinged enthusiasm to disc seems a near-insurmountable task.

Their new LP's sonic spectrum and jagged delivery encapsulates somewhat their shows' appeal, also affording fans numerous new, infectious choruses to boom along to while Butler scales everything in sight. Encompassing skin-peeling hardcore and metallic-inspired riffage alongside doses of prog, melodic rock and even jazz and blues, it emanates a vibrant quality. Rage Against The Machine-infused punker, Banshee (Ghost Fame), serene Pheromone Cvlt and almost Refused-esque spasmodic excursions within the bipolar, yet catchy That Fear Fever, will endear themselves even to those who would typically run a mile to escape anything dubbed “post-hardcore”. Closer, 27 Club's theatrical finale is another standout. Much of said appeal is steeped in the vocalist's ability to tackle an infectious hook as capably as a throat-lacerating scream, as well as those off-kilter lyrical musings (“I'll die with a smile/So my widow gets jealous). Typically faster tempos than Fake History help too, a cracking pace aiding the mostly effortless style-shifting. letlive. attacks these songs with raw gusto, but without neglecting measured songwriting and deftly incorporated sombreness.

You'll need a Gatorade or two to replenish after listening to The Blackest Beautiful. It'll be energy well expended, though.