It used to be that ¾ of the post-hardcore (or whatever we’re calling it) releases that made it to the ol’ inbox included the tagline “RIYL (recommended if you like) Small Brown Bike, Hot Water Music, etc.” Were many of the bands recommended as such solid in their own right? Absolutely. Did most (any???) of those bands generally sound like anything resembling either Small Brown Bike or Hot Water Music or a sort of mutant hybrid thereof? The answer is an emphatic ‘no,’ though that’s more the fault of the overzealous PR guru than the band itself.
Recent months, however, have seen an increase in releases tagged “RIYL Make Do And Mend.” Now, I like Make Do And Mend. I like them quite a bit, actually, as evidenced by my ‘Best of 2012’ list. (And, as an aside, good on them for getting to the point that they’re the new RIYL ‘it’ band.) Thus my skepticism when For The Life Of Me’s Closure EP made its way to my inbox earlier this month. However, the press release couldn’t possibly have hit the nail on the head any more squarely: if you like Make Do And Mend, you’ll love Closure.
It’s not that For The Life Of Me are a MDAM clone; far from it. The Portland, Oregon based four piece have a sound that’s their own, a genre-melding breath of life in a sometimes stale post-hardcore community. If you remember No Motiv (and you should, for heaven’s sake, remember No Motiv), I hear a lot of that band here, only played through the sort of experimental space-rock filter that made Hum such a cult favorite. “TV In My Heat Pt. II” perhaps best exemplifies this fusion in influences with its extended, shoe-gaze heavy interlude. “Winter Sleep,” is a little more of a straight-ahead melodic post-hardcore track, highlighted by plenty of technical guitar runs, much like album-opener, the pace-setting “Eleven;” think Defeater without the excessively screamed vocals.
For The Life Of Me have been refining their craft together since 2009. If this is a sign of things to come, the future certainly seems bright in Portland. Ignore the fact that their name triggers painful Verve Pipe flashbacks; do yourself a favor and check them out. “Closure” is due out March 26th; get it.
4/5 StarsAdd For The Life Of Me to My Radar