Release Date: April 14, 2009
Reviewed by Evelyn Miska

Tragic Boogie, the latest release from The Life and Times, is an album that mystifies, thrills and entrances listeners’ ears. Full of complicated melodies and multiple layers, the album will bring to mind the work of bands like The Doves and, to some extent, The Stone Roses but with a clearly modern influence. This is the sort of album that works well as background music but is well worth truly listening to in order to catch all the nuances and details.

“Que Sera Sera” reflects the band’s interest in the early work of bands like U2 and REM while others such as “Let It Eat” have a decidedly different feel. Allen Epley’s voice is often technologically distorted and this approach suits many of the songs well. “Old Souls” has a meandering melody that weaves through layers of drums, guitars and bass. “Dull Knives” displays Eric Abert’s proficiency on the keyboard, a good element in the song that adds a little something different.

“Chase Sequence” is one of the trippier songs on the album with some slightly psychedelic rock guitar riffs, a good dose of keyboards and distortion over Epley’s vocals. Similarly, “The Lucid Dream” does have a dream-like quality to it, almost sounding as if the music were coming through a body of water, rising up to a listener’s ears. What The Life and Times does particularly well is knowing how to balance all these elements so nothing becomes overwhelming, overbearing or simply intolerable. Not all bands can say that they have such a delicate touch.

The album isn’t due out until April 14, so fans will have to wait a bit to hear it, but the wait is well worth it. The Life and Times will be doing some considerable touring over the next month and a half in support of Tragic Boogie, mostly at intimate venues which could be another great way for fans to get a dose of the band’s music.

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