Exclusive: Life On The Sideline EP announcement, music video premiere

Since releasing Honesty Is A Dying Breed two years ago, Life On The Sideline has remained active on the road and is now ready to unveil its upcoming EP, Never Settle. To kick things off, we're premiering the music video for the band's new single, "Echo", which tells the sad story of a young girl reminiscing times spent with her deceased partner. While not a pop punk song per se, it's as catchy as one with an infectious chorus that you'll inevitably get stuck in your head. The band's sound could be compared to that of Transit's and The Early November's. Fans can pre-order the EP on iTunes and CD here, before it's released on June 7th. […]

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: Gutterlife - "Don't Sleep" EP

Release InfoGutterlife - Don't Sleep EP
Release Date: February 17th, 2015
Record Label: We Are Triumphant
Pre-order: N/A

Don't Sleep is a short EP from Long Island’s Gutterlife that sounds like it was written from a profoundly dark period in the artist's life. There’s no doubt that the issues covered by the lyrics were crucial when they were first written out and the music that accompanies them channels the raw emotion brought forth from the lyrics quite naturally.

The EP begins with a short into featuring some guitar and a spoken sound clip with drums building slowly behind it. It’s called “Don’t Sleep” and it’s short and helps set the tone perfectly for what is to come. Following immediately after the intro is this EP’s wake up call. “Complacent” begins with a dissonant guitar riff you’d expect from any punk band. Driving drums and a really deep bass fill in the void of sound under the rhythm guitars. What really stands out is the bark of the vocals as they are harsh and right in your face pushing the message the lyrics are preaching front and center of the audience listening. Though it’s a song that hits on the always-popular topic of people just accepting what they’re told and following the rules/drawing inside the lines, it’s pulled off extremely well as if it’s a completely new revelation.

The song “Dropping Bombs” is essentially harmless. It’s a solid tune that will elicit strong crowd reactions, just like how “Symptoms Of War” will be the song that begins in a circle pit and ends someone breaking something, but both songs seem stale as if they’ve been done before and what’s been said is stuff that’s been said before, but nobody is doing anything about it. Though, “Symptoms Of War” is a brutal punch to the jaw that’s fun as hell and I cannot get enough of it, minus the screaming sound clip that transitions the two parts of the song and falls flat.

On the contrary, “Sail Home” was a huge breath of fresh air in the middle of the record. It has an excellent chorus I could easily shout along with. There’s some really interesting background work going on with this song and some stellar background and gang vocals that bring an added level of greatness to this track.

“The Pursuit Of Hopelessness” is the song with the riff. The bass, guitars and drumming are at their best here at the end of the record, staying in the background while being thoroughly interesting themselves throughout the entire track. Each instrument has their time in the spotlight and completely nails it, something that can’t be said of many bands. The gang vocal screaming the title of the song right before the quasi-breakdown is perfection and something I’d absolutely love to see done live.

The biggest critique I found myself coming back to ended up being the sound clips and quotes used throughout the record, but most often in the beginning few songs. You’re bombarded with a string of these quotes that layer over the music in lulls in the lyrics, between verses, and as intros. No doubt, this can and is used effectively as a way of promoting the message behind what they lyrics are saying, but these were utilized so often in such a short period of time that it kept taking me out of any sort of groove or connection I was having with the music.

What’s really disappointing is that the lyrics in these songs are powerful and very well written. With such talent and ability to pen lyrics like these behind a message you’re obviously rallying behind, why let somebody else speak for you. That being said, at least the quotes are well chosen and really twist the knife that the band sticks in your gut with their music.

In short, Don't Sleep is an interesting, powerful, and emotional EP that has enough fast parts to keep things moving while being heavy enough to keep you on your toes. There’s a distinct message in every song, which is all too rare nowadays. If you’re into punk rock, definitely give Gutterlife’s Don't Sleep a spin and be sure to catch them live as their songs tend to give the impression that the band would be pure energy and entertainment live.

1. Don't Sleep
2. Complacent
3. Dropping Bombs
4. Sail Home
5. Symptoms Of War
6. Pursuit of Hopelessness

RIYL: Punk with a message, Comeback Kid, Gnarwolves


More reviews by Josh Jurss