It’s not difficult to see why Letlive. captured the wider alternative imagination with Fake History. Like a potent, explosive mix of The Shape Of Punk To Come, Relationship Of Command, Worship And Tribute and their genre-defining ilk, all underpinned by a front-man echoing both the grandstanding cool of Prince and Henry Rollins’ street tough spit, these Cali-based “soul punx” mirrored the fire of post-hardcore’s most genuinely game-changing pioneers, sounding truly vital in a time when bands simply didn’t feel like this.
Indeed, breaking at the turn of the decade and amidst the hi-jacked post-hardcore world of scene-pandering “boy bands with breakdowns” ghastliness, Letlive. couldn’t have been any further away from the perceived standard of floppy-fringed twerps and instead represented a return to the very base ideas of post-hardcore, of forging your own sonic path whilst still grounded in the values and community of the genres traditional, underground spirit. And so, whilst ‘Homeless Jazz’ is a hip swingin’, Rage Against The Machine-covering-Parliament funk-rock delight, ‘Day 54’ moves like a prime White Pony-era Deftones cut and ‘Muther’ is one of the most emotionally affecting slow burners in recent memory. The prevailing mood is one of aggression and urgency, full of riffs that gleam with metallic intent and an abiding sense that the band are unshakably connected with their hardcore roots (just check out the rampaging ‘Casino Columbus’ and ‘H. Ledger’ if proof be needed).
When the band somewhat bafflingly split in 2017, Fake History, 2013’s The Blackest Beautiful and swansong If I’m The Devil… were (and still are) heralded as modern classics, and although their legacy may be regrettably short-lived, it is still difficult to think of anything to happen in 21st Century rock music more exciting than Letlive.
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Words: Tony Bliss