Jun
20

Life On Repeat – Struggle + Sleep – Review

By Admin  //  Music Reviews  //  No Comments

It’s always nice to see hometown artists get the attention that they deserve, no matter where a listener may be from. Being apart of MD for so long, I was shocked that it took Equal Vision Records to show me talent in my own back yard (despite being aware of their previous band, Amen. The Animal.) But such is the way I stumbled upon Salisbury, MD five-piece, hooky pop-punk band, Life On Repeat. The group promoted a “pay what you want” structure for their Brian McTernan-produced EP “As I Grew” in 2009, which vaulted the act from its humble roots to sharing the stage with artists like Chiodos, Versa Emerge, The Ataris, and more. Now Life On Repeat has settled down with Taylor Larsen (Of Legends, Sky Eats Airplace) at the producing helm to write, record, and release their new album “Struggle + Sleep.”

Leaving nothing to chance, Life On Repeat puts their best foot forward with their album opener, title-track, “Struggle + Sleep,” which sees a potent mixture of catchy melodic guitars and clashing percussion, and will leave the band’s pop-punk fans with a taste of post-hardcore in their mouth. Patrick Purves continues to match the quality in his songwriting with the beauty of his vocals, by not only crafting an effort that discusses the dire situations that lead to cycles of merely surviving with little to look forward to, but also belting out an impressive vocal performance — from soulful singing, to straining shouts, and calm conversation. It’s funny to note that despite the newly founded post-hardcore bite of “Struggle + Sleep,” Patrick’s lyrics are still filled with girl-centered, pop-punk quotes — such as a sappy, lovable paragraph from “Southern Girls,” “And I remember the day that I met you. Ya, I remember those things that you said. You told me that you would love me forever. And it’s girls like you that make me wish I never left there.”

As the album spins on you’ll notice that Life On Repeat really embraces the dominance of guitars in their mix. Guitarists Andrew Baylis and Zach King really open up this album to its full potential. From the compounding fretwork of “The Need, Not The Cause,” the outstanding bridge of “Feet Under,” and dueling guitars of “Layover Letdown,” there is always a set of soaring melodic guitars put front and center — which is a main reason “Struggle + Sleep” doesn’t fall flat after repeated listens. Even the effort’s acoustic staple track “Without You Here” feels lively with a bustling of jangling acoustics, light percussion, violins, and team-singing. Fans of artists in the same vein as Lower Definition, Decoder, and Consider The Thief have easily found their new intricate string fix with Life On Repeat.

Struggle + Sleep” walks the line between hearty pop-punk and dexterous post-hardcore, but even with the juxtaposition, listeners of both genres can pick this album up no problem, either as an experimental listen or a guilty pleasure spin respectively. And while Life On Repeat doesn’t quite master the art of genre combination, the band does do each separately very well — a big help stemming from a musical maturity happening over time and also from the freeing, creative production of Taylor Larsen. The band also peppers in some occasional lonely chugging, but that is easily overlooked. LOR is on the up and up, making a considerable leap from their 2009 EP, “Struggle + Sleep” is a record that doesn’t just have catchy melodic hooks, it also has a defined focus and direction — a trait missing from many of their peers. [Staff]

Score: 4 (out of 5)

Release Date: June 14th, 2011
Record Label: Equal Vision Records
Genre: Post-Hardcore

RIYL: Lower Definition, Decoder, Amen. The Animal

Track Listing:
1. Struggle + Sleep
2. The Waiting Game
3. The Need, Not The Cause
4. Southern Girls
5. Rock The Boat
6. Feet Under
7. Layover Letdown
8. Sinking
9. Without You Here
10. Wide Awake

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