Album Review

LIFE - North East Coastal Town

A genuine evolution for the band.

There would appear to be, on the surface, an innate contradiction in terms of the idea of one of the country’s most incendiary punk bands of recent years making an album that effectively plays as a paean to their hometown; so many rock firebrands, historically, have railed against the places that made them. As the title of this third album from LIFE gives away, though, it is indeed a record shaped by Hull, the same way that the city shaped them as individuals. In some ways, it works as a companion piece to their last outing, 2019’s ‘A Picture of Good Health’. That record felt like a breakthrough, if not in commercial terms then thematic ones, with frontman Mez Sanders-Green and brother Mick delving deep into social consciousness in a manner that remains rare within UK indie rock. Now, on ‘North East Coastal Town’, they dig further into mental health, specifically late-night anxiety on the moody ‘Shipping Forecast’, as well as identity struggles on ‘Self Portrait’ and the pressures of touring life on ‘Incomplete’. Their personal lives, though, weigh heavier on the tracks than ever before, with a disarming pair of genuinely pretty love songs making the cut in the form of ‘The Drug’ and lead single ‘Duck Egg Blue’. That change in lyrical tack is reflected in ‘North East Coastal Town’ being the most musically diverse set of songs LIFE have yet turned in, bouncing from melodic pop-rock (‘Incomplete’) to the measured atmospherics of ‘Friends Without Names’. It all adds up to a genuine evolution for the band, who remain one of Britain’s hidden gems.

Tags: LIFE, Reviews, Album Reviews

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