Life at These Speeds - To Your Health (Cover Artwork)

Life at These Speeds

To Your Health (2006)

Level Plane

This isn't really a hard review to write. It's quite like the review for the previous record; if you know what is good for you, go buy this album. It's a post-punk / real emo sound of the finest caliber. It is addicting, it is solid, and it will be amazing if this record does not make quite a few year-end top 20 lists, even in what has turned out to be quite the year for amazing records.

All praise aside, the one thing the last record lacked was a 'song.' While, from start to back, the self-titled debut was packed with energy and amazingly honest sound, it lacked that defining moment. This album has a song, a killer track that stands above the rest.

That song is "Heavy Hand," and while I do listen to this album on repeat, I generally stop for a good fifteen minutes to put this 4:41 masterpiece on a few extra times. It starts off sounding like a calm lake and ends in the undertoe of a tidal wave, crashing at all the right moments. It is a song that, upon the first time listening to it, I knew it would make my year-end mix tape.

That being said, how does the rest of the record fare? Well, it's pretty solid. The recording quality is better and one of my complaints about the self-titled has been solved, as the production makes the instruments and vocals all come crashing through with sonic brilliance. Musically, the band does some interesting experiments, such as the group vocals on "Blocking Out the Stars," which turns out to be half-awkward simply because it sticks out like a sore thumb as the one part of the record that doesn't flow as well as the rest. It is also sort of strange to have two back-to-back instrumental tracks, but honestly they flow so well they're barely noticable.

Songs like "Retina" are great examples of how good this band really is when they're just rocking out. The title track, clocking in at over five minutes, is a shortened version of what can be said of the entire album; while there are different tempos and intensities, the album maintains a very constant sound. This sound has an incredible risk of becoming boring, however the band is able to hold the interest of the listener by way of incredibly strong vocals and addictive drumming.

If you've heard this band before, you're going to like this release. If you haven't, you can pick up this or the recent reissue of their self-titled record and have your ears be very happy with you.