Every Time I Die
23rd September 2016 – Epitaph Records
01. Fear and Trembling
03. C++ (Love Will Get You Killed)
04. Two Summers
05. Awful Lot
06. I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway
07. It Remembers
09. The Coin Has A Say
10. Religion of Speed
11. Just as Real but Not as Brightly Lit
13. Map Change
Well known for delivering round about thirty minutes (or thereabouts) of banging riffs every two years (or thereabouts), Buffalo’s long-serving statesmen of the party Every Time I Die haven’t put a foot wrong over the course of seven albums. Moments of quality are achievable for most, but their consistency is the most palpable mark of their seminal quality. Their formula has served them well, but eighth record Low Teens changes things up a tad. That’s not easy to do after the amount of time they’ve been going, but ETID as a band are so relatively long in the tooth for a reason: they’re fucking good at what they do.
For starters, Low Teens is almost half as long again as any of their previous efforts. At forty-three minutes, it’s like being served two sausages and a couple of rashers of bacon on the side of your 18oz steak; enough to cause you to break into a sweat just looking at it. With that said, much like any other Every Time I Die album few songs break the three and a half minute mark, so Low Teens retains the band’s trademark leanness.
“Petal” in particular recalls the intensity of Hot Damn! and more recently Ex Lives, while the discordant stabbing of “1977” lends some late-album intensity. If anything though, Low Teens most recalls 2007′s The Big Dirty; it’s absolutely riddled with smutty southern riffs. Opener “Fear and Trembling“, with its almost whimsical opening riff, thrums with pleasurably fuzzy guitars and a satisfying, uncomplicated tempo. “Two Summers” triumphantly toys with the cowbell used so memorably on the classic “We’rewolf“, and ”The Coin Has A Say“ drives along as relentlessly as so many of the songs from that record. It’s not at all unwelcome.
With all the brevity, “Religion Of Speed” stands out for topping five. Along with “Petal“, it’s also a great example of Every Time I Die experimenting with – if not wholeheartedly, then at the very least tastefully – with interesting sonic elements. The former’s pacey acoustic guitar intro, and the latter’s mid-track segue into using parts of the drum kit not limited to the skins, provide necessary breaks amongst the maelstrom.
In increasing the runtime, Every Time I Die have not entirely been able to avoid a bit of extraneous fat around the edges. Tracks like “Awful Lot” and “I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway“, while fine, aren’t as immediately memorable as their fellows. The likes of “It Remembers” have real classic catalogue potential, meaning by necessity some don’t stick out nearly as well.
Whilst not entirely new, Low Teens‘ tone is noticeably more melancholy than earlier, more atmospherically jubilant efforts. “It Remembers” sees frontman Keith Buckley crooning “I can’t stand want I’ve become; I’m shivering despite the sun”. What’s more, the record sounds at times sorrowful; last track “Map Change” feels like a drunken stumble home at the end of a disappointing night, and rounds out the record in a minor key; tonally much different to earlier closing bangers like “Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Battery“, ”The Sweet Life” or “Indian Giver“. Party metal this ain’t.
It would be folly to suggest that Low Teens is going to create a whole bunch of new fans where previous records couldn’t, but it’s exactly what you want from an ETID record, constructed with the abundant experience of a band who, if they were a person, would be of age to go to university this month (even if that person would spend their freshman year getting as ungodly drunk as possible). Low Teens a crystalline example of everything Every Time I Die have to offer, and despite some minor bloating, presented with near-uncompromising quality. If you love this band, you’ll likely love this record.