During the month of March 2006, hardcore punk veterans Lifetime signed to Pete Wentz’s Decaydance label and were to release their first album in 10 years on that label. To all the fans who have stuck with the New Jersey quintet, this was the worst thing ever, the biggest sin, the ultimate contradiction. Their precious band was to release their album on a label that caters to the teen girl crowd? Erroneous! Erroneous on all counts! Despite vows from the band and Wentz that nothing was going to change, many fans still remain skeptical. Now after months of debate and message board banter, Lifetime have released their long anticipated fourth LP, Lifetime. After a few seconds into the first track, “Northbound Breakdown,” we are all assured that nothing has changed.
With Steve Evetts (Saves The Day, The Dillinger Escape Plan) behind the controls, the band feature everything they’ve always had. Ari Katz’s raspy vocals, Dan Yemin’s air-tight guitar work, and Scott Golley’s drumming is all reminiscent of past work on Hello Bastardsand Jersey’s Best Dancers, it just sounds smoother and cleaner. It is not necessarily better than previous efforts, but it does make the listening experience quite more enjoyable.
Melody and hooks are peppered throughout the disc, with the first single, “Airport Monday Morning” leading the way. Yemin and Pete Martin cruise on guitar, and Katz is as energetic as ever. “Just A Quiet Evening” is anything but what the title suggests, as this track pummels upon your ear drums, and “Haircuts And T-Shirts” (which first appeared on the 7-inch Lifetime released in November) is a toe-tapper. “Spiders In The Garden” and “Yeems Song For Nothing” will bring out the dancer in you, while “Try And Stay Awake” is paced by Golley’s great drumming and Dave Palaitis’ chunky bass lines. “Song For Mel” is a quick one minute track that’ll instigate the circle pits, and “All Night Long” (the other track from the 7-inch to appear on the album) begins with a nice drumming and is driven home by simple yet effective guitar riffs. “Records At Nite” close out this barnburner of an album, as it nicely takes all the great elements of Lifetime – melody and passion – and blend them into a closer that’ll remain in your memory.
Clocking in at around 24 minutes, it’s exactly what the majority of Lifetime fans should expect and love. Of course there are going to be a few fans that hate the record or regard it as the weakest album in Lifetime’s glorious discography. In the long run, this may be true, but one, it is way too early to tell, and 2, it doesn’t take anything away from this release. Basically, it’s the album Lifetime would have released in the late 90’s if they didn’t decide to take a hiatus, with the only glaring difference being the production (which I love). No matter where you rank their self-titled effort in your Lifetime collection, it is still a fun as hell album that will kick you in the nuts repeatedly. It’s been a long ten years without this band, but, as this record proves, Lifetime are still Jersey’s best dancers.