LA Soul Punx letlive. return with their fourth album and with a burden of expectations on their shoulders. Nevertheless ‘If I’m the Devil…’ offers a different insight into the mind of Jason Aalon Butler alongside the band’s musical evolution.
Straight from the top, the band’s presentation is different as ‘I’ve Learned To Love Myself’ offers a grander approach with sweeping strings and thunderous blasts serving as a backdrop to Butler’s tale of self-resolution; “the mask I use to wear is now becoming my face.”
Butler has always had a tendency to be direct and personal in his songwriting. His troubles alongside a thought-provoking social and political commentary provide the lyrical markup for ‘If I’m the Devil…’. ‘Reluctantly Dead’ is cathartic whilst being musically stirring and accessible ("I’ve been confused with someone in control”). ‘Another Offensive Song’ takes a stance against prejudice, serving as a rallying call to stand up and take action. Likewise, ‘Good Mourning America’ is an emotionally charged blast. Each song is delivered with intensity, leaving a lasting impression.
For some, it’d be easy to state letlive. aren’t their former selves as they step away from their hardcore roots. That previously unhinged anger has been redirected and incorporated into the band’s lyrics. It’s a move that demands your attention to everything Butler has to say.
In regards to their musical shift, ‘Who You Are Not’ and ‘Foreign Cab Rides’ sees them slowing things down admirably with the latter being delivered in a soothing, ballad-esque manner. Whilst the brooding title track leaves you on tender hooks as Butler’s restrained vocals leaves you patiently waiting for the satisfying payoff.
At first, ‘If I’m The Devil…’ may not be the letlive. album you wanted, but you’ll soon be captivated by. It takes risk that they collectively thrive off. Their growing pallet of sounds is delivered with conviction and is neatly complimented with a set of subjective themes.
Simply put, ‘If I’m The Devil…’ enhances letlive.’s reputation as one of the most important rock bands right now.
‘If I’m The Devil…’ by letlive. is released on June 10th on Epitaph Records.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)