The Life and Times, Tragic Boogie

The Life and Times, Tragic Boogie

The Life and Times continues in a similar direction as Shiner, frontman Allen Epley’s previous band, combining the tautness of Slint with strangely Beatlesesque anthems. For Tragic Boogie, though, The Life and Times’ second album, the band decided to expand its palette. Epley said, “We wanted to make the kind of record that a big-name band with a lot of money might make, except we don’t have any money. But we said what the hell and decided to do it anyway…” So they built a studio and were able to use it to really shape the songs over a longer period of time. Instead of paying the engineers money to tweak the recordings after the fact, they thought about how the songs would sound post-production, and then just recorded them that way.

The work they put into the songs shows. The results have a massive, epic, grandiose quality, more like the Flaming Lips or Interpol than the more stripped-down sound of their previous records. There are Epley’s usual multitide of anthemic songs, from “Confetti,” a powerful, slower rock song with seesawing guitar riffs and massive chorus, to “The Lucid Dream,” a beautiful swaying ballad reminiscent of a woozy Pink Floyd, with snare drums and guitars that swirl in and out like a thick haze, to “Tragic Boogie,” a slow rock song with driving punishing drums and a nice doubletracked vocal part in the bridge. There are also a multitude of cool sonic details in the songs, including delaying everything from the guitars to the vocals in “Que Sera Sera,” the verse guitar riff that almost sounds piano-like and the epic, Floyd/My Bloody Valentine-ish stacked harmonies on “Fall Of The Angry Clowns,” and lots of almost vocoderized-sounding vocals on “Let It Eat.”

Allen Epley still has the same head for epic melodies that he’s ever had, so if you like his melodies, you’ll really enjoy this album, too. It’s an interesting idea for a independent band that isn’t on a major label to put out an album that sounds that way anyway. And the production does add interesting layers to the sound that you don’t hear often with this kind of band.

(Arena Rock Recording Co. -- The Ford Building, 2505 SE 11th Ave. #256, Portland, OR. 97202;; The Life and Times --
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Review by . Review posted Saturday, November 28th, 2009. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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One Response to “The Life and Times, Tragic Boogie

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