Cementing The Seams

The Plot Sickens


As is usually the case, you can find a perfectly acceptable review of this record (and of every other record I like apparently) at Built on a Weak Spot. But if you’d rather just read it here I won’t hold it against you, but it’ll be more of a stream-of-conciousness story than a review.

My experience with The Life and Times has been all about anticipation. I first ran across them due to my infatuation with DC label DeSoto Records just before their debut full-length “Suburban Hymns” was released in 2005. It wouldn’t be until after I got it that I would find I’d been missing out on their first EP “The Flat End of the Earth”. Anyway, I was immediately excited that Allen Epley (of DeSoto’s Shiner) was writing new material. I recall hearing the opening track “My Last Hostage” (via DeSoto) and being completely blown away. I suppose now that I over-hyped "Hymns", but when I finally heard it, it fell a little short of my expectations. A follow-up to Shiner’s swan song “The Egg” it wasn’t, and nothing on the record matched the intensity or beauty of the opener. So, my first impression was that it was a bit boring, but in reality I was just listening for the wrong things. The more I realized "Hymns" wasn’t Shiner worship, the more I liked it.
Fast forward to 2008 and it happened again. The Life and Times announced a new LP and I got all giddy. Only this time I felt like I knew what to expect. “Tragic Boogie” turned out to be an indie-rock powerhouse and exactly as great as I wanted it to be. It maintains the bass-driven melancholy of “Suburban Hymns” and takes it to the next level in nearly every way. The Life and Times carve out niche for themselves which isn’t easily paralleled and is scarcely performed at an equal level. This is what indie-rock sounds like. It’s not boring, it doesn’t meander and the absence of swirly ambience sets it apart from many groups they will probably be compared to. At least for me, The Life and Times got it absolutely right this time.

For Fans of: Shiner, Roma 79, Calla

The Life and Times on Myspace


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