Lifehouse: Smoke & Mirrors


RIYL: Goo Goo Dolls, The Fray, Matchbox Twenty

When Lifehouse released their edgy debut No Name Face in 2000, their music was leaning more toward alternative and cool – because of the songs and the way they recorded them, but also because of how radio, to some degree, still drove record sales. But as bands like Lifehouse, Matchbox Twenty, and Third Eye Blind keep aging, their music tends to organically soften. And as it does, they start to mesh on radio with artists such as, say, Edwin McCain or Huey Lewis. And while we all do age, there is something inherently disappointing in watching a band like Lifehouse start to listen too much to producers and radio programmers instead of making the cool music that they used to. Still, these guys can write hit songs in their sleep, and on Smoke & Mirrors, their fifth studio effort, Lifehouse has delivered yet another batch of ear candy that will have little girls swooning. For the rest of us, it’s a nice album, but nothing we haven’t heard before, from Lifehouse or any other bands in their alt/pop genre.

Songs like the upbeat “All In” and “Had Enough” are formulaic, but there are also some nice surprises. The first one is “Nerve Damage,” which is an edgy rocker that even has a bluesy guitar solo that is (gasp) almost 30 seconds long. Then there’s the best track of all, “From Where You Are,” a stunning acoustic ballad that shows singer Jason Wade hasn’t lost a single strand of vocal cord over the past decade. Someday Lifehouse may go back to having creative control. But even so, their music doesn’t exactly suck, and you can’t blame them for chasing a big paycheck. (Geffen 2010)

Lifehouse MySpace page

  

Jace Everett: Red Revelations

Jace Everett is billed as a singer/songwriter, and he is one, yes. But since singer/songwriter has become a genre that usually implies a single person with a guitar or piano, it’s probably more accurate to just call Everett a rocker in the Americana vein. Everett is best known for being the dude behind the song “Bad Things,” which is the opening theme for HBO’s “True Blood” (and this album’s closing track), so the guy already had somewhat of a launching pad for his career. Which brings us to Everett’s new (and third) album, Red Revelations, a serviceable collection of tube amplifier- and Fender guitar-charged rock songs. At various times, Everett channels Elvis and Johnny Cash and Mellencamp and Springsteen, but most closely resembles Chris Isaak, and while the songs are rocking and entertaining enough, it’s not likely that you’re going to be humming most of them a few minutes later. And Everett also drops into that Elvis “Thank you, thank you very much” lower register a bit too often than he needs to. Regardless, there are a few standouts, like the upbeat “More to Life (Cmon, Cmon),” which has gang harmonies that give the track a Huey Lewis & the News feel, and “Little Black Dress,” which features some pretty slick guitar work. (Weston Boys 2009)

Jace Everett MySpace Page

  

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