[4/5] When Lifetime first announced they were getting back together for good in November 2005, one of the first comments on Punknews.org was “Yippee!!!!” To demonstrate how quickly the scene can turn on you, one of the first comments written the following March when the band announced their signing to Decaydance, Pete Wentz’s Fueled By Ramen imprint, was “This is so fucking pathetic.” While many a 20-something, laptop-toting punk may have been utterly offended by one of their musical heroes signing to what could ostensibly be labeled as the Death Row Records of emo (which would make Pete Wentz Suge Knight-scary), put yourselves in Lifetime’s shoes: You could release your new album on the same label as before and sell 10,000 copies to your fans; or you could try something new, still sell those 10,000 copies to your fans and maybe expose some younger people to what you’re all about, too.
And what Lifetime are all about is playing the same pop-sprinkled melodic hardcore punk they first minted on 1995’s Hello Bastards and then mastered on 1997’s Jersey’s Best Dancers. Lifetime is 11 songs and 25 minutes of what every fan has been dreaming the band would create for the past decade, only tighter and faster. (Seriously, Scott Golley’s drumming? Ree-goddamn-diculous.) The quintet-Golley, vocalist Ari Katz, guitarists Dan Yemin and Pete Martin, and bassist Dave Palaitis-have all lived drastically different musical lives in the past 10 years (compare Katz’s post-Lifetime projects to Yemin’s, and you’ll wonder how these guys ever got along). But instead of butting heads, they have taken their deeper knowledge of music as a whole and applied it to these songs.
Immediate standouts “Haircuts And T-Shirts” and “All Night Long,” previously issued on the Two Songs 7-inch last November, reappear on Lifetime, with the latter having its opening adjusted to better flow in an album context. “Airport Monday Morning” is sure to be a new crowd-pleaser, with its gang-vocal breakdown ending; another surefire hit is closer “Records At Nite,” which, while not as instantly powerful as Bastards’ closer “Ostrichsized,” will still bring down the house. Katz, while as unintelligible as ever, has upped his vocal melody game considerably, with a stronger range and slightly more nasal pitch. (Here’s hoping for a lyric sheet in the liner notes, though.) It’s one of the many small improvements the band have made in their craft. Nothing was broken with Lifetime ca. 1997; there’s no need to tinker too much with a proven formula.
Reunions are a sketchy thing in general, and we’re typically warier of bands who want to keep the fire burning after the victory-lap tour winds down. But what you have with Lifetime is five adults playing youthful music better than any of the youths they’ve influenced-and who can argue with that? (DECAYDANCE/FUELED BY RAMEN) Scott Heisel
Lifetime’s Hello Bastards
Lifetime’s Jersey’s Best Dancers
Lifetime’s Boy’s No Good 7-inch
1. Northbound Breakdown
2. Airport Monday Morning
3. Just A Quiet Evening
4. Haircuts And T-Shirts
5. Can’t Think About It Now
6. Spiders In A Garden
7. Yeems Song For Nothing
8. Try And Stay Awake
9. Song For Mel
10. All Night Long
11. Records At Nite