Look Alive

Translucent EP

Written by: TL on 06/10/2014 15:47:16

At a quick glance it's easy to check out the new "Translucent" EP from hopeful Georgia upstarts Look Alive and label it as simply the latest in a growing line of hard-hitting pop-punk-slash-easycore bands that take notes from the likes of Set Your Goals and Four Year Strong. Upon a bit closer listening however, the Atlanta quintet has a bit more of a compound sound, putting the aggressive drumming and tempo of said bands underneath guitar melodies that are actually more thoughtful and reminiscent of the many shades of emo revival bands that currently reign in bars and basements all across the United States. On a song like "Regrets Taste A Lot Like Hard Liquor", the clean singing in the verse sounds almost like a slightly shrill Justin Pierre (of Motion City Soundtrack) while the following "The Bad Conversationalist" brings to mind the sentimental style of Man Overboard, although Look Alive's lyricism figures positively in comparison, having at least one layer of depth beyond that of mopey diary entries and high school type romanticism.

Commend the band then, for trying to establish something similar to The Wonder Years or Living With Lions' "Holy Shit", where it feels like you get both a sensitive, thoughtful side, contrasted with the searing energy that helps vent those frustrations that otherwise weigh you down. This other nuance of the band's sound is apparent particularly in the choruses, where the vocals strain to mimic the high and forced style of a Parker Cannon (of The Story So Far), bringing about a feeling of urgency and sincerity that will likely succeed in inspiring bros to jump on top of other bros at live shows, in sheer eagerness to sing words back to the band as close to them as possible - Which is exactly as it should be with this kind of band. (I mean, so long as the overall conditions are not out of control and so long as we agree to not be that guy who stage dives eight times during each song - seriously fuck that guy - then this whole recent "No to crowdsurfing" trend is surely a bit of an overreaction, no?)

Back on topic, the style the Look Alive guys are honing is hence completely commendable, but realistically it also must be observed that the fruits aren't fully ripe yet on "Translucent". You admire what the band is trying to do, but things haven't been resolved in that instantly convincing way that characterises a band that's primed for their breakthrough. The opener "Putting The "I" In Isolation" gets close when its chorus drops to half tempo and has a properly shoutalongable melody to the "Tell me where we go from here" line, as does the following "Underrated" when it sweeps you along making you want to suddenly belt "It could be something more worth your time!", but overall the EP tugs more at your attention as something that gets you occupied with tracing the separate ingredients instead of being caught up in the total experience. It's a record of promise that grows with returning listens, especially if you're a fan of where the group is coming from, but also a release that casts the band as one with its best work still ahead. So here's a recommendation to stick with the stylistic balance and just keep working on nuances, hooks and melodies.

Download: Putting The "I" In Isolation, Underrated
For The Fans Of: The Story So Far, Living With Lions, Man Overboard, Real Friends
Listen: facebook.com/lookaliveatl

Release date 21.10.2014

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