Music Review: Lifehouse's "Smoke & Mirrors"

3/06/2010 Posted by Admin

Music Review

Lifehouse' "Smoke & Mirrors"

By our guest blogger, Sanela Djokovic

Lifehouse found their niche a long time ago and have not strayed from it. If it sells then it ain’t broken, and that means there is no need for fixing. “Smoke & Mirrors,” the fifth studio album from the Alt-Rock/ Pop-Rock band is a good compilation of sweet prom tunes and upbeat choruses of the catchiest proportions. Although leaning slightly towards a more up-tempo, classic rock sound, this album is classic Lifehouse.

If there is anything Lifehouse can do, it is hit us over the head with a catchy chorus and have us grunting out its like lyrics like front man Jason Wade, whether we want to or not. Their lead single “Halfway Gone,” is as radio-friendly and infectious as anything they have ever done. Jason Wade, who wrote or co-wrote almost every song on the album, and the rest of the band apply the heavy-hitting and amusing sound to a number of their songs. “Nerve Damage” may offer a tinge of cynicism in its lyrical content, but the song, about seeing past phoniness (I see through your clothes/Your nerve damage shows), is an engaging roller-coaster ride, going from low and lingering verses to a bursting chorus, from a vigorous guitar solo to a bluesy guitar solo. It adds a little complexity to their deeply rooted signature sound.

Another immersive and fun track is “Smoke & Mirrors,” a song about escape and breaking out. This is where we can hear a hint of old-school rock, making it a good song to spaz out to while driving solo, but still a far cry from “Livin’ On a Prayer.”

There also is plenty of crooning on this album, a side Lifehouse often has exposed to us. “From Where You Are” and “By Your Side” are soft and sweet, perfect for a CD mix for the boo. “Falling In,” a mid-tempo love song, seems constructed to make girls swoon and is just right for the fan-made video montages of favorite TV couples on YouTube: “Everytime I see your face/ My heart takes off on a high-speed chase/ Don’t be scared/ It’s only love we’re falling in.” Corny, but effective.

A nice surprise on the album is Chris Daughtry’s subtle appearance on “Had Enough.” His background vocals alone complement and enhance the song. A less-pleasant surprise comes from “Wrecking Ball,” which features bassist and back-up vocalist Bryce Soderberg singing lead vocals, thus stripping Lifehouse of their most distinct quality and making the band sound unrecognizable.

Most people will find a lot of cheese on “Smoke & Mirrors,” but one man’s definition of cheese is another man’s definition of heart. Either way, there are enough catchy songs on this disc to satisfy fans of the group.

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  1. YesiG said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  2. YesiG said...

    The reviewer is right on point about the album. For me, this isn't one of Lifehouse's best. the only tracks i like is "it is what it is" and "had enough"