Every Time I Die – Ex Lives

Every Time I Die

Ex Lives
Epitaph
By now, the law of averages says that Every Time I Die ought to have a bad album by now. With each album comes a further upward swing in a seemingly endless trajectory skywards, and the amount of awesomeness their previous releases have brought coupled with their fans rabid enthusiasm and indeed, expectation, you could argue there might be one or two expecting ETID to hit a snag somewhere. Yet within moments of Keith Buckley yelling ‘I want to be dead with my friends!‘ in the opening to ‘Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space’, its business as usual, setting the tone for ‘Ex Lives‘ to become the best album of ETID’s career to date.
I could easily leave it there having pretty much summed up that you need this album right now. But that wouldn’t do the album’s many highlights any justice. Keith Buckley’s trademark wit is still rife: ‘I refuse to be the only man/put to rest in a mass grave‘ (‘Underwater’…) is one such delight from many and his voice lends itself to many other the album’s catchy moments, of which I’m sure you’ll be able to pick out.
Every Time I Die – Revival Mode (official video)
Ex Lives‘ displays a huge range of ETID’s influences old and new merging themselves to blistering effect. ‘Holy Book of Dilemma’ ups the speed and intensity, one of the heaviest songs on the record. The rockabilly beginnings to ‘Partying is Such Sweet Sorrow’ offer a brief respite but by and large this is perhaps the heaviest ETID record yet – Keith Buckley’s howl at times conjures pure hell, evidenced by a blistering roar of ‘I have declared a war’ on ‘Drag King’. For all its intensity, at times ‘Ex Lives‘ does change the pace, and while fairly melodic in contrast to the majority of the record, the darkness of ‘Revival Mode’, with its catchy refrain of ‘Thanks Lord/but I don’t need any more/poor advice‘, is one of the record’s stand-out tracks, while ‘Indian Giver’ even sees the band steering into Melvins territory with a hypnotic psych-tinged sludge riff.
It’s still the same Every Time I Die we know and love six albums in, fourteen years down the line. Arguably their defining album, they’re still loaded with swagger and packed with more answers than any questions that could be asked of them at this stage of their career, whilst making one unholy din. ‘Ex Lives‘ is, to repeat, ETID’s most accomplished album to date, still managing to stay one step ahead of everyone else when it comes to merging heavy-ass grooves and punk rock intensity with a bloody good time.
Peter Clegg
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