Systematically violating genre, with more posts than Kim Kardashian’s Twitter feed, Californian upstarts Letlive. returned in 2010 to Tragic Hero records with a more contoured and thoughtful salvo of voracious experimentation.
Redoubling the ferocity and brash cynicism found on 2005’s “Speak Like You Talk”, “Fake History” sounds like a band finding it’s feet (those calloused masses parked firmly on your heartstrings). Where their previous efforts revive Glassjaw’s melodic wilfullness and Fugazi’s rhythmic dynamism, in chaotic display, Fake History finds an angsty individuality that coalesces with brilliant emotional glare. They spiritedly fuse Jazzy experimentation, Gospel harmonics, Harcore rage, and modern malaise in a completely unique way, heard best on tracks like “Casino Columbus”, “renegade ’86”, and “H. Ledger”.
There’s not a wasted instant on this album. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler’s passionate strafing behind every slippery vocalise a teenager’s anger in finding that all the comforting truisms of childhood were lies. Lyrically the album is one of the strongest in recent memory. At times all angst and bravado like early Palumbo, Butler is just as thoughtful and pensive as any modern poet. Questioning God and other sources of imperious morality, there is sure appeal for the disenfranchised punk, or angered 99%-er.
Extremely strong instumentation from Johnson, Nascimento, Rivera, Sahyoun, propels the songs. Always craftilly mutating, like Joan River’s face, they produce some attention spasming goodness, as if Dillinger got three fifths of the ritalin they needed. There is never a moment where they seem unsure of their destination or route. So forward thinking even to make rapid transitions between hardcore and stadium chanting, as on “Enimigos/Enemies”.
Fake History is an album for the thinking man, the adventurer, to be in awe of. It is easilly one of the best releases from Tragic hero in a long while, and certainly on of the seminal albums that retrospectives will credit with revolutionising progressive hardcore music. Not a bad song or misstep, it is certainly one of the standout releases of 2010.