Right from the beginning, “Liferz” feels more linear, more upbeat, and more polished than Blood On The Wall’s earlier work. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either, because although Awesomer than had some transcendently psychedelic moments, it also had some too-weird-for-words moments that sounded like the members were fighting each other instead of playing together. Like the Flaming Lips and other experimental rock bands, sometimes strange music is simply inaccessible. In other words, in the past the band sounded like a young band. Here, they seem to have grown into their roles.
On this, their third record, every song feels like a song; the band avoids descending into noisy jams, and instead focuses on hooks and more traditional song structure. Which is not to say they’ve sold out—far from it. The band generally uses the same raw, rough, punky approach that saw them through their first two very-good records, emphasizing heavy drums, chug-a-lug bass, and urgent vocals, but at the same time they provide surprises like “Lightning Song,” a quiet, bass-driven song with vocals by Courtney Shanks (the band’s bass player, natch!). Courtney’s voice is much better than before, she seems to have a range I haven’t heard before. And her brother, Brad, has honed his craft to play cleaner and crisper riffs. The only one who hasn’t changed is drummer Miggy Littleton, who doesn’t need to change. Miggy may be one of the best drummers in indie rock right now. “Liferz” is better produced, better crafted, and the songs are just plain better, too.
On the Brooklyn based label The Social Registry, originally from Kansas, now from the BK, I’m going to make a bold statement: Blood on the Wall, with their new release, have become . . . Even awesomer.