Review: Past Lives – Tapestry of Webs (Suicide Squeeze)

Blood Brothers are now almost all Past Lives, and I really like the new digs. Read my review for Blurt or check it out below.

Stream the album here.

The members of Seattle’s Past Lives may have all done time in the screamy, neo-punk-rock Blood Brothers, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it by listening to the band’s debut full-length, Tapestry of Webs. The group’s members have shed the sometimes painful histrionics, especially vocalist Jordan Blilie, for poppier yet still experimental song construction and texture instead of violent chaos.

The album’s opening tracks detail the new direction best – “Paralyzer” softly builds upon clicking drumsticks and a stately baritone guitar line (apparently, the band has no bass) before the atmosphere is thickened with volume and feedback. “Falling Spikes,” on the other hand, skips along briskly, slightly discordant guitar chords straddling the mix of low end amidst what sounds like soft horn riffs. Here, in the chorus especially, Blilie recalls shades of his past as a screamer, but he never quite reaches those Blood Brothers pinnacles. The band has made some effective album sequencing decisions as well, juxtaposing the hushed “Deep in the Valley” with the wonderfully grating “K Hole” (another song that employs some woodwinds, more Pharoah Sanders than Stan Getz here).

Tapestry of Web’s appeal isn’t immediate, but that’s also the key to its success. At first blush, songs like the eponymous “Past Lives” confound – all the pieces fit together into a pleasant pop structure without ever giving in to the saccharine joys of the genre. But who wants sugar when you can suck down the spice of Mark Gajadhar’s drumming and Morgan Henderson’s distended guitar string bends. Past Lives have created an intensely interesting record with a sound that is firmly locked into the future of punk rock. It’s not always as noisy, but it’s still poignant, political, emotional, and immediate.

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