Back in 2008, I first heard about this band via a Drive-Thru Records sampler, I was blown away with their originality and after reviewing their 08’ re-release, Party For The Grown And Sexy, found myself being pulled into a band who mixed the slick guitar riffs, hooks and licks found in the likes of The Spill Canvas with the straight up Pop-Rock of Fall Out Boy, whilst creating their own image and persona that went above and beyond both of these.
I had high hopes for You, Me, and Everyone We Know, another EP (So Young, So Insane) and a full length release (Some Things Don’t Wash Out) came out, everything looking promising, then all of a sudden they were gone, another band to hit the musical graveyard. Or so it appeared.
Frontman, Ben Liebsch returned at the tail end of 2012 with a teasing three track EP and now he’s releasing this four track taster, equivocally titled I Wish More People Gave a Shit. Whilst going it alone and re-working the band as the fans knew it, he’s lost none of his flare for producing catchy lyrical work that holds longevity in each line and unconventional metaphors. Harking back to the days of 2008, and fan favourite Livin’ Th’ Dream would appear to hold more messages about how Liebsch got to this point than would have been apparent five years ago. A track seemingly about the music scene along with the highs and lows that accompany it seems appropriate, whilst more recently translating into a testament of how Liebsch’s tenacity has kept this machine going.
From the offset, this is a brutally honest adventure. There’s no shirting around the obvious, tales of his previous exploits with the band are all here in a stark contrast of colours. Opener I’d Contribute More Dead is a hark back to the days of the So Young, So Insane release, but with more edge. This is shown throughout the four tracks, exhibited mostly in the vocals that carry a lot more angst and cutting power, there’s a big feeling of need, the need for Liebsch to get these words off his chest. At times there’s a fair bit of organised chaos with the choruses seeming to have it all going on, unrelenting to say the least.
The Big Mistake is the track that really stands head and shoulders above the rest with the lyrics admitting shortcomings before the realisation that these mistakes are shared by all: “I’ve made a big mistake and I’ll be, wait wait no. We’ve made a big mistake”. Closing track, The Winds Won’t Change is a short but sweet close to an unforgettable four tracks, if not a little too gentle. It’s ukulele charm is wondrous in where it takes the listener, but falls down slightly on being more filler and, just maybe, better suited to a place on an expanded release to break tracks up and give people a breather.
“Sometimes I want to cheat but I don’t, I want to quit but I won’t cause I made this bed[…]because we’ll sail through the sleazy seas, past all the casting couches, rug burned knees. I’m not done yet, you know I’m only getting started.”. Liebsch’s songwriting on Livin’ Th’ Dream still holds true to this day and gives a renewed optimism that there will be more to come in the future. The only thing left to address is that this is a truly warming EP with its honesty the marker of progression over previous releases and gives it an expanded maturity on other releases within the same genre.
4½ out of 5