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Letlive – If I'm The Devil album review

Soulful Californians come out of the garage

Letlive, album cover

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

Metal Hammer deputy editor El commissions the features section of the magazine and curates covermount CDs, as well as co-hosting the Metal Hammer podcast. Irrationally obsessed with sea creatures.