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Live - 'The Turn'

posted 31 Dec 2014, 15:32 by Paul Woodward

(Think Loud)

Review by Woody

The comeback of American Alt-Rock legends Live sees them return without iconic front man Ed Kowalcyzk. This fact alone could divide opinion on the new album The Turn if you’re full on Team Kowalcyzk and refuse to think of the band been any good without his involvement. I have to admit I’m a big fan of Kowalcyzk and I’ve enjoyed his solo releases since Live’s hiatus but as a consistent fan of the bands output since their breakthrough album Throwing Copper I was hopeful the new Live line-up could still excite me. The remaining trio of original band members drafted in Chris Shinn of Unified Theory to take on the role of front man and given the man he was replacing popularity it’s an unenviable position of elevated expectation. For me it will always be about the music and the songs if the band sucks without Kowalcyzk or rock nicely with Shinn then so be it let the music do the talking!

You can tell this is a Live album a lot of those markers of familiarity are there, but it is a very different album to what has come before. Obviously the most different aspect is Shinn’s vocals that has a smoother style and he never tries to mimic Kowalcyzk so it makes it really feel like something different even though some of those obvious Live touches remain present. In a bizarre way the band push the band’s sound forward by drawing a lot of influence from their early work with Mental Jewellery and Throwing Copper. Not all the songs have an obvious Live touch but on those that do I find the influence to be linked to either of those early albums which should intrigue fans who haven’t enjoy latter day Live albums.

I would say The Turn is one of the most commercial and easily accessible albums the band have ever done. I personally believe this album stands well amongst the bands back catalogue and I thoroughly enjoy it especially the more radio friendly tracks which just get under your skin. ‘Don’t Run To Wait’ is a hook laced radio friendly track with a smooth and infectious chorus and along with driven commercial rocker ‘We Open The Door’ which has a chorus that gets stuck in your head, are extremely pleasurably and obvious highlights. That said it is an overall consistently strong album and in my opinion should leave established fans very happy as they do stay true to their sound whilst moving onto their next chapter.

I have to say I was really pleased with The Turn and it has become a welcome addition to my Live collection and I look forward to this new era for the band.

Track Listing: Siren’s Call / Don’t Run To Wait / Natural Born Killers / 6310 Rodgerton Dr / By Design / The Way Around Is Through / Need Tonight / The Strength To Hold On / We Open The Door / He Could Teach The Devil Tricks / Till You Come Around

Album Rating: 8/10

Woody’s Essential Track: Don’t Run To Wait