The Daily Gamecock

Letlive's 'If I'm The Devil...' lacks power of previous work

<p>Although "If I'm The Devil..."&nbsp;has a few hidden gems, the album is repetitive overall and lacking of letlive's classic sound.</p>
Although "If I'm The Devil..." has a few hidden gems, the album is repetitive overall and lacking of letlive's classic sound.

Release date: June 10

Label: Epitaph Records

Duration: 45 minutes

Grade: C

While letlive’s fourth studio album, “If I’m The Devil…,” carries with it strong messages and an interesting new sound, it fails to reach the power of the band’s previous albums and falls into repetition.

It’s clear from the first song on the album, “I’ve Learned to Love Myself,” that letlive is exploring a new sound. As opposed to their previous album’s wild and chaotic opener, “Banshee,” this song has a slow build-up to a melodic chorus complete with a violin track. This works and provides a mellow and emotional start to the album that sets the tone for what’s coming.

The following song, “Nü Romantics,” also has a more restrained sound in comparison to letlive’s previous material, but vocalist Jason Butler’s fast and soulful singing keeps the song from falling flat. The third track, “Good Mourning, America,” is a clear high point for the album as it features the exciting mix of R&B and punk that letlive is known for, along with a catchy chorus and a relevant and blunt message about police brutality.

It is starting with the fourth track, “Who You Are Not,” that the album starts to hit its problems. This song has a predictable song structure that is very unlike letlive, and the mild tone that is present in most of the previous songs starts to feel repetitive. On top of the structure and repetition issues, Butler’s range becomes another problem.

In previous letlive albums, Butler has swapped back and forth between melodic singing, R&B-style singing and screaming, creating an ever-changing sound that allowed him to impress in multiple ways. “If I’m The Devil…,” however, has mostly stripped away the screaming and forced Butler to shine solely through his singing, and in songs like “Who You Are Not,” the result can be a weak chorus that sounds like Butler is trying to hit a note he can’t hit.

“A Weak Ago” suffers from the same predictable nature and a repetitive chorus that keeps the song from being a memorable one. The next tracks, “Foreign Cab Rides” and “Reluctantly Dead,” are slow-building songs with powerful resolutions that would have had a much greater impact if they weren’t surrounded by forgettable songs with similar tones. If this album had better variety, songs like these two that are slow but catchy and powerful would have been able to truly shine.

Besides “Good Mourning, America,” the only song that truly breaks the monotony is “Another Offensive Song,” but by the time it comes, the song just feels out of place. That being said, the song is an exciting departure from the repetitive style that letlive locked themselves into, even if it has another example of a weak chorus due to Butler’s limited vocal range and, perhaps, even a poor mixing job.

“If I’m The Devil…” ends with a pair of songs that have powerful lyrics and some of Butler’s best vocal work on the album, but once again the songs fail to stand out like they should because of how similar their overall style is to the rest of the album.

Letlive’s latest album suffers from several flaws, the biggest of which being a lack of variety. While the album has a few gems, there are too many repetitive and bland songs to keep it from feeling forgettable.