WORDS: LUCA CESCON
What’s post-hardcore and what’s not? This question has been dividing the underground (and mainstream) music’s community for years, and it’s still unanswered today. Actually, we can’t talk of a real genre, since all its influences and sub-cultures are still hard to be depicted.
The only thing we can take for granted is that the post-hardcore approach has different waves and ways of be played. Starting its path in the ‘80s with bands such as Dinosaur Jr., Hűsker Dű and Fugazi, this new musical trend raised its personal bar a decade later, with the almighty At The Drive-In, Refused and Drive Like Jehu above all.
Post-hardcore was not mainstream at all, since its bands’ attitude was more linked to an artistic yet harsh way of seeing live music first compared to the relevant record market. With the 00’ era, everything changed. Bands like Thursday, Poison The Well, Finch and Alexisonfire literally created a new post-hardcore sound, including clean vocals and more metalcore-oriented features to the original sound of this genre. Both MTV and Warped Tour helped this scene to grow rapidly among new young listeners that probably didn’t even know about Embrace or Rites Of Spring.
“NEVERTHELESS, ONE OF THE BEST BANDS OF THE NEW WAVE OF POST-HARDCORE WAS LETLIVE.”
Nevertheless, one of the best bands of the new wave of post-hardcore was letlive. Actually, it’s not even that easy to limit their name to this genre, since the band fronted by Jason Aalon Butler (now in Fever 333 and Pressure Cracks) explored lots of different musical aspects such as experimental rock and some art punk references in their discography. The Los Angeles outfit disbanded in 2017, after fifteen years of honourable service and after having released one of the most incredible records in recent history, Fake History.
Tragic Hero Records released the album during the spring of 2010, and from that moment the band’s career literally changed for good. This label was at the forefront for what concerned the new wave of metalcore and post-hardcore acts, such as Alesana and A Skylit Drive. 2010 was an amazing year for hardcore and metalcore music, with albums such as What Separates Me From You (A Day To Remember), Rohnert Park (Ceremony), The Hope Division (Stick To Your Guns), Keepers Of The Faith (Terror) and Rage (Attila) released during those twelve months.
Produced by Brett Gurewitz (Bad Religion) and Kit Walters, letlive.’s Fake History destroyed every musical boundaries with one of the most incredible genres mix ever deployed in just eleven tracks. Their record received positive reviews from quite every music magazine and website, mostly because of its way of approaching a genre – the above mentioned post-hardcore – with a personal touch. Clean vocals impact on a furious yet jazzy instrumental backbone, with furious parts that meet the captivating skills of Butler in a frenetic whirl of pop-influenced choruses and metalcore attacks.
The previous record from letlive., Speak Like You Talk, set a new way of considering albums’ tracks, with twelve songs divided into sixty-nine tracks in total. Fake History was linked to the band’s first effort by a mention of martyrs in the lyrics of 2 in 6.8 Billion, which ended and then started both records. That being said, Fake History is one of our favourite releases from start to end: we agree with Remfry Dedman from The Indipendent who described the band’s musical style as a mix of “Black Flag’s frenetic power and the infectious soul of Michael Jackson”. Tracks like The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion, Homeless Jazz and Hollywood, And She Did really explore a wide range of styles, with hand-clapping added to breathtaking drums assaults and arena-rock-oriented guitars riffs. As Butler stated, his band’s wanted to show people that “American punk rock soul is alive and well”.
Listening to Fake History ten years later still gives us goose bumps, with hyper-pop and rock songs like Lemon Party and Muther that we can’t stop singing in our heads after all this time. Fake History is not a fake history at all: letlive. created a superb yet unreachable record for good that will still wear the Royal crown of post-hardcore for a very long time.
LISTEN TO THE BAND’S UNHEARD DEMOS FROM FAKE HISTORY HERE