Lifes is a bass & drums-duo from Milwaukee, and this tape is their debut demo. It's stylish but still rough and DIY-looking, and comes with a mini-booklet including the lyrics and some info about the band and the demo's recordings sessions - written in all caps, of course!

I read somewhere that the band's members have a long history in punk-bands that I've just never heard about, so it comes as no surprise to hear that both guys handle their instruments well and with the needed confidence and rage. The songs range from chaotic powerviolencey hardcore to more moody and sludgy down-tempos. The demo varies a lot during its short play, but overall the songs' mixture of brute primitivism, hostility and all-out aggression with two vocalists shouting their lungs out sounds very natural.

The soundscape is rough and a bit muffled, but it suits the band's approach; the slow rhythm-based passages sound heavy and make you nod your head, and the fastest bits sound truly chaotic. Although the songs have some definite caveman-characteristics in them, they also demonstrate that the duo actually can handle their instruments and know how to imbue some musicality and logic into the seemingly out-of-control crudity.

I'm absolutely fond of this demo. It's the band's debut and as such shows some characteristics of a young band, like the wide spectrum of tempos and moods that occasionally vary very suddenly, but I find this unpolished and untamed roughness to be a part of the tape's appeal as it keeps the listener on his/her toes. Lifes has a lot of options on where to go from here; do they make things a bit more musical, do they focus more on the slower or the faster pieces, do they keep their sound primitive or fine-tune it... or do they keep on doing whatever they want and create a mayhem. Time will tell.

Aside of the tape's end part that could sound a bit tighter and me being a bit unsure of what is it that the band actually wants to do, I have very little complaints. I hope I'll be hearing more from this band in the near future.

4 / 5