The Artist Life - Living
Record Label: None
Release Date: January 2008
Sometimes a great emo punk band is one that does not have a lot of hype surrounding them, their players are practically unknown on a large scale, and, as in the case of The Artist Life, they come from the bucolic countryside environs of Burlington, Ontario in Canada. The four members of The Artist Life have a pub rock vibe reflective of American Steel, and their emo punk tremors show shades of Sugarcult. The pick slides in the guitars of lead vocalist Ian Blackwood and backup vocalist Dean Richards careen with a thrilling rush running through their veins, and the pair’s alternating vocals throttle a pub rock blaze that gives the tracks a vibrant sing-along magnetism. The chord dynamics are heady and the rhythm section of bass guitarist Chuck Leach and drummer Jake keep the grooves tightly seamed in the melodic progressions. The tracks from The Artist Life’s latest EP Living show the band to be a tightly-knit unit who are here to play punk rock to their hearts' content.
The guitar lines streak like lightning across the yarns of bass pulls and fast-footed drum kicks being drilled on tracks like “Liquid Courage“ and “City Blocks,” which charters into the acoustic version of “City Blocks Interlude.” It’s the alter-ego of the electrifying track harboring acoustic guitars and gently rolling rhythms. The acoustic variation has a comfy strut with heart-felt vocal slobbering and melodically imbued chord dynamics that would make any acoustic guitar proud to be used in the tune. Punk rock vibrations, rhythmic flusters, and emo-driven grooves bond together on tracks like “Soldier Charlie” and “”Resting Place,” reveling in athletic-moving tempos and attractive dance-rock movements with SoCal shadings. The guitars start up and slide with tremendous impetus to get-going. The guitar tremors reel row after row of heated rods on tracks like “Waiting Room” and “Piss Test.” The band’s emo punk rock palette never runs out of steam or different sonic twisters.
The band puts pockets of alternating vocals and pub rock rhythms that pack alot of hardcore chops. The number “Shipwreck” shows some of the band’s hardcore chops as Blackwood’s husky vocals chime, “I found a shipwreck and my heart is the treasure / It’s been buried in dust and the dust hasn’t settled / It’s been covered for years dreaming of the day she may come back.” The band’s lyrical themes focus on lovelorn feelings and regrets in the past shown in phrases from “Shipwreck” like “My body aches and aches / I’m six whiskeys deep / The ocean floor is giving way / It just might sink / If I could, I would never live this way again / I never thought I’d be so sorry.”
The band’s melodic patterns show different variables on each track and most are candled by highly charged guitars. The Artist Life are one of those band’s whose debut album shows more of themselves than of their music influences or the band’s that they each played in prior to The Artist Life. The Living EP has a good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll vibe with extras in the way of modern punk and lyrics that avail themselves to a sing-along lure.