Letlive – If I'm The Devil album review

Soulful Californians come out of the garage

Letlive, album cover

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Letlive burst onto the scene with their intense shows off the back of 2010’s Fake History, frontman Jason Aalon Butler going eye-to-eye with crowds and wringing every last drop of emotion from his voice.

On record, their punk-meets-rock-meets-soul songs were similarly charged. Jason’s winces, cries and vocal tics were left raw, even if the production varied, with 2013’s brilliant The Blackest Beautiful sounding like it had been recorded live in a shoebox venue.

But with fourth album If I’m The Devil…, they’ve made something polished, cinematic and ambitious that stays true to their ethos yet opens them up to bigger stages. There’s Jason’s exposed monologue on I’ve Learned To Love Myself, forever building around strings – reprised on closer Copper Colored Quiet – and the hip hop-tinged ballad of Who You Are Not. Then there’s the politicised gospel intro of explosive single Good Mourning, America, and the punk protest of Another Offensive Song. All the while, whether he’s singing about the personal, the political, or the blurred line between them, his voice alternates between the fervour of a preacher and the whisper of a sinner at confession, weaving through infectious choruses and high-energy riffs with a newfound clarity. It’s a pretty-but-deadly Venus flytrap. And it’s the album of their career.

Eleanor Goodman
Editor, Metal Hammer

Eleanor was promoted to the role of Editor at Metal Hammer magazine after over seven years with the company, having previously served as Deputy Editor and Features Editor. Prior to joining Metal Hammer, El spent three years as Production Editor at Kerrang! and four years as Production Editor and Deputy Editor at Bizarre. She has also written for the likes of Classic Rock, Prog, Rock Sound and Visit London amongst others, and was a regular presenter on the Metal Hammer Podcast.