UK Release March 5th 2012 on Epitaph Records
Opening an album by screaming ‘I want to be dead with my friends’ before continuing into an aural assault of occasionally nonsensical and consistently erratic ramblings is a bold move, but then this is the new Every Time I Die album, and would we expect anything less?
Although the lyrics do at first sound like a tangled web of metaphors, further listening (and internet research) proves that Keith Buckley hasn’t lost his knack for intelligent lyricism, but he has evolved. There are less comedic moments than in Every Time I Die’s previous efforts; instead Buckley uses his intellect to explore himself, and this element of the analytical introduces a new depth and brutality to his lyrics.
The frantic pace slows down slightly by the midpoint of the album, ‘Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow,’ and although the southern sounding guitar work presents a sort of light relief, Buckley’s account of battling the effects of partying and alcohol draws darkness over proceedings. It works though; it’s a powerful song.
These feelings of frustration and weakness are the continuing theme throughout the album, and Buckley’s voice depicts these emotions perfectly, whether he is pleading, ‘thanks Lord, but I don’t need any more poor advice’ as he does on ‘Revival Mode’, or questioning ‘what does he have that I don’t, except you?’ on ‘Drag King’. The ferocity and speed that ETID are famed for is still here, but the additional cynicism and a sense of vulnerability pushes the band to new heights.
Everything on this album sounds evolved: there are no anthems, no songs stand out as a party track as with Every Time I Die’s previous work. The guitars are still fast, but there is more control and finery; Leger’s drums provide solid structures, yet are still able to completely change the direction of a song mid-way through.
Everything fits together perfectly on ‘Ex-Lives’; every element has grown, improved, and gels to create an incredibly accomplished album. It’s Every Time I Die at their finest, their most vulnerable, and most intelligent, and that is no mean feat.
‘Ex Lives’ is out now. Every Time I Die will be playing at Hevy Festival 2012.
Review by Megan Davies