Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lifetime - Tinnitus EP

Lifetime - Tinnitus

This EP was part of a supremely awesome Zen post, so you can check that out and/or download it here.

Lifetime was a melodic hardcore/pop-punk band from New Jersey, formed by Ari Katz and Dan Yemin (who would later go on to play in Kid Dynamite and Paint It Black) in 1991. Before breaking up (for the first time) in 1997, the group was heralded as one of the strongest acts to come out of the New Jersey punk scene, a pop-punk band that was just underground enough to be cool to like. The Tinnitus 7” was released in 1994, and features a brasher, more aggressive sound than the poppy, streamlined approach shown in their later, more famous works. It would eventually be collected in The Seven Inches collection a couple of years later, along with other early EP’s released by the band.

“Isae Aldy Beausoleil” begins the record with a screeching riff, and immediately transitions into an aggressively fast-paced track, showing the band’s superb ability to seamlessly change pace. Much of the credit belongs to Yemin, who weaves an endless loop of riffs in stream-like fashion, only breaking to build tension. The next song, “Ferret”, shows more of the same, with the highlight coming just over two minutes in when the band completely tears it up coming out of a solitary bass line. “Starsixtynine” brings with it a heaving instrumental combination right off the bat, reaching calamitous levels of energy as the throaty yelp of the title track brings the end to another break. This capability for building momentum out of nothing is a huge strength of the band, and it’s exhibited to perfection throughout Tinnitus. The last song, “Ampersand”, is possibly the most cathartic of all, starting off slowly as the guitar and bass intertwine, working together to some leisurely yet interesting melodies. Eventually, the band breaks yet again (Are you noticing a pattern yet?), with the drums and guitars eventually bringing the pace to a frantic rate as Katz screams his heart out in confronting yet another faceless oppressor. The emotion and sentiment come off as even more real thanks to the production, which has a rawness to it that really makes these songs unique in the spectrum of pop-punk, showing that layers of polish are anything but necessary in crafting intricate punk gems.

This is angry, passionate punk music full of throaty, cathartic gasps and some great fucking melodies. In other words, it’s what I’ve been told every other Lifetime release is. Except Tinnitus actually lives up to the reputation.

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