There is one thing that needs to be straightened out about Letlive.: there is nobody like them. Their live show, their persona, their music- everything is created and brought to life in a way that could never be duplicated, or even closely so by any other band.
If I’m The Devil… has been a long time coming. Just like its predecessor The Blackest Beautiful after their second album Fake History, it’s been more or less exactly three years since their last release. But it’s worth it, because with Letlive., it’s always worth it. Opener I’ve Learned To Love Myself is stunning; beginning with a stripped back vibe focussing on Jason Aalon Butler’s vocals, it sounds like an impassioned diary entry about the previous up-bringing, wrong-doing themes that the band have covered in previous albums- however this time it sounds like he’s making peace with the past.
Nü Romantics has undoubtedly the most bass you’ve ever experienced in a Letlive. track, while carrying a slightly indie edge in the intro. There’s goose bump inducing choral bridge in there also, which is more than worth rewinding once or twice. Their first release from this album Good Mourning America is a showcase of Butler’s poetry at its finest, this time in the form of a biting commentary on the state of America, and people trying to have their say; ‘you’re no Guevara, boy. Just a poor man’s Marx. Now I think you better take a step, down off that cross’.
If you’re a fan of the slower Letlive. songs, Foreign Cab Rides is nothing short of a beautiful trance-like track where Bulter’s vocals are at their most raw and haunting, however it’s his fading scream towards the end as the music picks up, which is perhaps the most unforgettable moment on the entire album. Second single Reluctantly Dead sounds like a continuation of something from The Blackest Beautiful, which is never a bad thing, whilst Another Offensive Song is exactly what it states; vicious, feral with all the makings of an absolutely killer live track.
Title track If I’m The Devil is another stripped down moment, but takes advantage of this by speaking volumes through the calm; ‘if I’m the devil, you’re the reason, the reason that we give ourselves all away’. It’s the perfect lead into the closing track Copper Coloured Quiet, which has a funky, soulful drum feel to it; there’s so many layers of swelling strings and group vocals, there’s no other way to describe it other than an incredibly special way to end the album, almost like a sound-track to the closing credits.
If I’m The Devil… truly is a piece of art from start to finish. Letlive. are a band with such incredible soul, that is communicated so flawlessly in everything they do and in all of their albums, each of which is as good, if not better than the one that came before it. This album is such an unequivocal communication of their values, their views and most importantly their thoughts on the state of their country at the moment. It’s this fact that makes this album so different, in that their material seems to stem from experiences on a wider basis; social, political and cultural, rather things from a personal level as used to provide a lot of inspiration before. Listen to this album, take it in, learn a little something and appreciate the phenomenon that is Letlive.
The album is out June 10th (this Friday!) via Epitaph, and Letlive. are also touring the UK later in the year as support to Pierce The Veil (you can view those dates here).