It doesn’t take a long time to figure out how many albums York, Pennsylvania-based band Live has released. The CD’s title, which is definitely less elaborate than the previous four releases’ — Mental Jewelry, Throwing Copper, Secret Samadhi, The Distance to Here — is a reflection of the new sound that Live introduces on their fifth endeavor.
The album begins with the not-so-thought-provoking title “Intro,” a thirty-six second collection of musical noise featuring the voice of Tricky. The British rapper also makes an appearance on the album’s first single “Simple Creed,” a favor done to repay Live singer Ed Kowalczyk for his vocal contribution to Tricky’s song “Evolution, Revolution, Love.”
“Simple Creed” sets the tone of the album almost immediately, anthemic alt-rock with lyrics that seem to mock someone, as Kowalczyk begins the song by singing, “Born with your back to the god/ that spit you out on the riverbed/ angry at who? Me? You better back up fool/ I bet you took a gun to school too.”
The song flows perfectly into “Deep Enough,” in which Kowalczyk taunts a male competitor in an attempt to win over the affection of a girl. The song includes some sexual innuendoes that might be expected of Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, but seem out-of-place in Live’s music (“Your eyes met mine/ Your skirt began to rise/ And so did I/ Now you know that I took that prize”). Both “Simple Creed” and “Deep Enough” are radio-friendly, guitar driven rock with a slight hip-hop influence, which is seen even more on the hidden track, a remix of “Deep Enough.”
The band’s Eastern influence is seen on the song “Forever May Not Be Long Enough,” which begins and ends with a woman’s Indian-style chants. The vocal distortion on the chorus is an addition previously unheard in a Live song, although the lyrics bring to mind a common theme in the band’s music: love. In it, Kowalczyk states “My faith in love is like blood, I spill it freely for some/ My faith in love is like blood, it flows in everyone.” Kowalczyk , it seems, likes to use the word love. It also appears in the titles of two tracks, the somber “Transmit Your Love,” and “Hero of Love,” one of the few songs that sounds like it could be on Live’s outstanding 1994 release Throwing Copper.
One of the more memorable songs on V is “Overcome,” with its orchestral arrangements and showcasing of Kowalczyk’s vocal talent as he sings: “Even now/ The world is bleeding/ But feeling just fine/ All numb in our castle/ Where we’re always free to choose/ Never free to find/ I wish something would break, because we’re running out of time.”
While V lacks the lyrical and musical emotion of such songs as Throwing Copper’s “Lightning Crashes,” the album may appeal to longtime fans of Live as well as those who are not fans of the heavy sound the band had during the mid-90s (although fans of the band who preferred this quality will probably be disappointed). On V, Live displays, though, that they still have the ability to create music that is far more thoughtful than what is being produced by today’s top-selling musicians.
Archived article by Ariel Ronneburger