Out of the Wasteland
(Ironworks/Kobalt Label Services)
Lifehouse are a multi-platinum band from L.A. alt-rock trio who have had over 15 million album sales worldwide, over 1.4 billion Pandora plays to date and they’re one of the most played artists on US radio to date. I’ll be honest in my twenty one years I hadn’t actually heard of Lifehouse or their debut album ‘No Name Face’ from 2000. Their 2015 album ‘Out of the Wasteland’ is the first material of their’s I’ve ever heard. Opener ‘ Hurricane’ is clearly a rock-anthem for the group that has an underlying electronic tinge.
‘One for the Pain’ is just brilliant as Wade sings ‘ I’ve got a car that’s full of boxes, but I just can’t seem to leave’. The chorus is hooky with Bryce Soderberg on bass keeping the rhythm going. This song is one I can see going down really well on the music festival circuit.
‘Flight’ was originally written as a solo song for Jason Wade but he realised that along with ‘Hurricane’ it was meant to be a Lifehouse song. Ricky Woolstenhulme Jr time with The Goo Goo Dolls has rubbed off in this track but it compliments the piano perfectly. ‘Runaways’ has a real bite to it with the soaring vocals and build-up to the chorus and I understand why songs like this are considered by the band as a new chapter in the story of Lifehouse.
‘Firing Squad’ has really fantastic drumming from Ricky Woolstenhulme Jr. and I feel that Maroon 5 took a leaf out of their book in terms of musical style. ‘Wish’ is a really tender track with acoustic guitar that makes you think of fields in Spain and lead vocalist Jason Wade’s tone and use of melody is an important component of Lifehouse’s success because both females and males can sing along to the songs. The same applies with Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Pat Monahan of Train; a lead singer which the crowds can sing with and radio-friendly songs that can be understood in a worldwide music market.
‘Wish’ was actually written in 2001 when their debut album was released and Wade admitted that I was evolving in my songwriting and we went in a different direction, and that song always fell through the cracks. ” It is definitely a highlight on this recording.
‘Stardust’ reminds me of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and for me is probably the weakest song on the album. This is only because the preceding and post tracks in this collection are stronger lyrical in my opinion. It is still technically well played.
‘Central Park’ was written in 2007 when Wade did some traveling as a way to shake up his writing process. The song’s lyrics are well-thought out and are refreshing to hear as it would’ve been quite easy for Lifehouse to release an Iron Maiden hard rock type album but instead they have produced tracks like ‘Hurt This Way’ which discusses family troubles with such musical delicacy.
The vocal harmonies on ‘Yesterday’s Son’ give it a unique approach and give Mumford and Sons a run for their money. I suppose it is folk rock if you want to categorize it but one thing is for sure it really does work for Lifehouse.
Closing track ‘Hourglass’ has beautiful string arrangements thanks to the help of legendary movie-score composer James Newton Howard (a former member of Elton John’s classic 1970s band). It also features a vocal duet with an unknown female which is well performed.
‘Out of the Wasteland’ is a strong release for Lifehouse musically, lyrically and vocally and if you like Maroon 5, Train or Crowded House then there’s a chance you may like this offering. I hope to hear some of this material on radio in the UK and I have a feeling that when they perform in the UK in the autumn these songs will stand strong alongside their classic material.
Lifehouse’s new album ‘Out of the Wasteland’ is released in the UK on Monday 22nd June 2015 on Ironworks/Kobalt Label Services. To support the release Lifehouse will be embarking on a five-date headdline tour of the UK and Ireland at the following venues:
Monday 28th September- Olympia, Dublin, Ireland http://www.olympia.ie/whats-on/lifehouse/
Tuesday 29th September- ABC, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/lifehouse-tickets/178165
Thursday 1st October- O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, United Kingdom (**Sold Out**)
Friday 2nd October- Academy 2, Manchester, United Kingdom http://www.manchesteracademy.net/Artiste%20Pages/lifehouse.html
Saturday 3rd October- O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, United Kingdom (Extra Date Added) http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/IEH0310R?brand=o2sbe&camefrom=AMG_SBE_LFHS
For more information visit: www.lifehousemusic.com
(Thanks to both Dan Deacon and Lewis Fromberg and Deacon Communications for help with this review)