Lifetime - Tinnitus [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)


Tinnitus [7-inch] (1994)


It's tough to find a band as influential as Lifetime. Despite never being on a major label, and never really being that well known, the band has been a countless influence on so many bands. In fact, many bands that have been influenced by Lifetime have gone on to be more influential–i.e. Saves the Day, and the Canadian band Silverstein even covered them. Still, without all of the fame they deserve, Lifetime have made an obvious mark on the hardcore scene with their impeccable albums, Hello Bastards and Jersey's Best Dancers. Before Jade Tree, though, Lifetime were a different band. Possessing a darker sound, Ari's vocals weren't as there as on later releases, and the ever-changing lineup didn't help solidify a sound. By the time Tinnitus was released, Lifetime had the lineup of Ari, Dan, Dave, David, and Pete, which changed again by the next year. This '94 EP serves as the middle ground between their dark days and the melodic hardcore the band became known for.

The EP is four solid tracks, each with a distinct feature. The opener, "Isae Aldy Beausoleil" kicks in with a furious amount of energy. Ari has always had distinct vocals, and they're very present in the track. It's a solid opener and a great sing-along, but, it doesn't have the same power as the others. "Ferret" comes in as the next track and is one wonderful song. The dual guitars really help move the track along, and the lyrics are some of the best: "Don't hold your head up so high / you won't see what's coming next." The song's energy really builds up throughout the track, too.

The fast pace returns with "Starsixtynine", one of their most well-known songs, and rightfully so. Dan's shouting, Ari's vocals and the instruments mix up perfectly. The song itself is an energy-filled burst of melodies, anger, and angst. It shows the direction the band was headed. But, with the closer, "Ampersand", the band heads back to their early style: very dark lyrics, a buildup style of playing and Ari sounding like he's close to tears when singing the verses.

Tinnitus is definitely an awkward release for Lifetime. As the bridge between old and new, the EP is put in an odd spot. When stacked up against their old stuff, it seems like something completely different; when up against the Jade Tree era, it can't hold a candle. But, when looked at as just a stand-alone EP, it becomes a good release. Four solid songs, all there lyrically and musically; the EP is a good release. However, some of Ari's singing is completely incoherent, which is a shame since the lyrics are wonderful. Also, the band didn't have a solid lineup, so there's not that perfect mesh between all members. Still, being Lifetime, the EP manages to be very enjoyable and, most of all, good.