LIFE OF AGONY SOUL SEARCHING SUN Roadrunner

This is quite simply a fabulous album. No bullshit, just go out and buy it. Hailing from New York, this is the third album from the Brooklyn Quartet, and follows hard on the heels of ‘Ugly‘ (another superb album, which incidentally featured an absolutely great version of Simple MindsDon’t You Forget About Me‘), an album which was full of dark, personal lyrics and tortured sounding instruments.

However the mood has been lifted to an extent for this release, and while their musical world is still quite a dark place, there is a slightly more upbeat, almost at times cheerful, attitude to this 16 track album. Don’t get the idea that because previous releases and even this album is dark, that the music is unenjoyable, because that is certainly not the case and you would miss out on some great music if you steered clear for that reason. The band at times sound like a cross between Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden, look hardcore, while as previously mentioned, the lyrical content of the songs are often sad, depressed and lacking in cheer, and this is often reflected in the music, being at times, slow, hard and toiling in its instrumentation.

Full of stop/start, fast/slow riffs, the band looks on song writing as personal therapy for both themselves and their fans. Dark, intense lyrics, amalgamated with their grinding sound, results in songs of isolation, loneliness, despair, regret, loss, death, troubled relationships which are all very soul baring. The band also highlight a tendered side to their music that some doubters may not have thought subsisted, and this adds to the overall ambience of the album.

Opening with the traditional jerking grinding sound of ‘Hope‘ with its concrete mixer of a guitar and pummelling drums those LoA fans will feel at home instantly. ‘Weeds‘ although being in a similar vein has a more accessible sound to it, as has ‘My Mind Is Dangerous‘, a song of impeccable beauty and sound, which you can hardly believe comes from the band which gives you ‘Tangerine’ and the chorus free ‘Neg‘ which assault your speakers with their force. All songs are melodic, just varying in their extremes and thunderous sounds, ‘Lead You Astray‘, ‘River Runs Red‘, ‘None‘ and ‘Whispers‘ being at the top end of the scale, while ‘Heroin Dreams‘ is a two sound classic of relaxed verses and booming choruses, and ‘Angry Tree‘ is probably the sweetest track they have ever released.

There is even the likes of the jazzy sounding ‘Desire‘and ‘Haemophiliac In Me‘ which could almost be considered “pop-sounding”(!), despite its pounding drums and rampant guitars. Only the reworking of ‘Lets Pretend‘ from the second album and ‘Tangerine (re-Zep)’ let the album down, but that is a minor point to an album which is the best thing they have yet done. Life may not be so painful for these Brooklyn boys much longer.

Taken From Scotland Calling (Scottish Music Network)