Lifehouse – Almeria
Record Label: Geffen Records
Release Date: December 11th, 2012
CA pop-rock/alternative rock band Lifehouse is one I haven’t listened to in about five years. I haven’t kept up with the band at all, and I’ll be honest about that. The last record I listened to by them was 2007’s Who We Are, and that’s a great CD. “First Time” is a great song, but a friend of mine told me about their new album Almeria a few weeks ago. I had no clue it even was released, but I saw it on sale at Best Buy, so I decided to buy a copy. I’m glad I did, because it’s a wonderful record. The best part is that it’s completely different from anything Lifehouse has done before. I’ll admit, I was rather skeptical to buy this record, because I haven’t listened to them in a very long time, like I said, so there was that thought of “Will I like this?” but as soon as I started it, and first song “Gotta Be Tonight” started playing, I knew I made the right decision. This song really threw me off, because guitarist Ben Carey plays a country-ish guitar riff, which is really nothing they’ve ever done. In fact, this record has a few tracks that have a very country sound to them, which is really interesting. The thing that’s even better is that these songs work quite well. I don’t listen to country music, really, so that’s why it even surprises me that I really like these songs and this record. Besides that, the record does have a myriad of sounds to it. Some songs are country, some blues, some alternative, and some are pop-rock. There’s a lot to take from this, albeit some of the songs are rather generic at times. That’s not a bad thing, though.
As I mentioned, the records starts with “Gotta Be Tonight,” and it begins with lead vocalist Jason Wade singing in a harmony. One thing about Lifehouse that I did always enjoy was Wade’s voice. It has a rather gruff quality to it, but he can hit those softer notes, too, which I really like. His voice has versatility, which not many vocalists seem to have nowadays. Despite that, a very country-esque guitar riff comes up 30 or so seconds later, and the chorus picks up. The chorus on this song is massive in a good way, as are most of the choruses on this album, actually. The choruses are a driving force on here. But with this song, the chorus has a very pop-rock sound. This is a great opening track, to say the least. What’s interesting, though, is next track “Between the Raindrops” is a complete 180. This is the first single, and for good reason, because this is one of the blatant “pop-rock” songs on the record. This features British singer Natasha Bedingfield, and this track is rather generic, for what it is, it’s great. She appears in the second verse, but she does quite well. It’s a more organic pop-rock song, too, meaning that there aren’t any electronic elements in it. It’s a rather straight-forward pop-rock song, and you don’t see too much of that anymore. The next two songs “Nobody Listen” and “Moveonday” are another pair of pop-rock songs. They’re much more upbeat and very catchy, surprisingly. “Nobody Listen” has a great chorus that can really get stuck in your listen. “Moveonday” is a really cool pop-rock song with a great guitar riff that goes along through it. It’s the first “rock” track on the record, really. Sadly, however, once you get to track fifth “Slow Motion,” the record slows down a bit. What do I mean by this? The songs are a lot slower in tempo, meaning they’re ballads, basically. It seems that half the record is full of catchy pop-rock/alternative songs and the other half are ballads.
Don’t get me wrong, though, “Slow Motion” is an enjoyable track, despite being a five-minute ballad. It’s got a country/bluesy kind of sound to it, which makes it really interesting. The only downside is that it’s a bit too long for me. Five minutes is kind of pushing it when the lyrics are repeated quite a bit, but it’s not awful. The next two or so tracks are rather generic, but not in an awful way. They’re just songs that I feel as though I’ve heard before. They’re enjoyable, but they’re nothing I would truly write home about, either. Eighth track “Right Back Home,” picks the album right back up, and this is another “rock” song on the record, too; it features rockers Peter Frampton and Charles Jones, and it’s a very enjoyable track. There’s a guitar solo in the middle of the song that’s just absolutely wonderful. While ninth track “Barricade” is a good track, it’s rather forgettable, but still enjoyable. Last track “Aftermath” is another ballad, and I’m happy with that, because it’s my favorite ballad on the entire record. It also ends the album on a very quiet note, which I really like, too.
This album is rather different from anything Lifehouse has been before, and it works quite nicely. For someone like me, who hasn’t listened to the band in years, it’s rather surprising, but in a good way. I didn’t know what to expect going into this album, but I was pleasantly surprised, and I like it. When bands reinvent themselves, it can go either terribly or fantastically. I don’t want to make it sound like this is the best record I’ve ever heard, because it’s not, but to put it simply, for what it is, it’s great. It does its job nicely, and it’s a very enjoyable record that I find myself coming back to.