Letlive. found their origin in Los Angeles, CA with frontman Jason Butler but they reside in the hearts of many around the world due to their infectious charisma, booming stage presence, and unique unmatched sound. They create music that makes you feel good, which is enhanced by their love for soul. But, their music also gets your blood pumping with aggressive, in-your-face elements derived from punk and post-hardcore. The result of this combination of soul and punk (With their overarching post-hardcore aura) is a sound you’ve never heard before. Arguably, letlive. has pioneered a new genre called soul punk and it’s a revolutionary sound.
You may be asking yourself, “What is soul punk? Is that even a real thing?” You search Google and nothing comes up. Well, that’s because right now, soul punk has only one possible definition: letlive., and if you want to understand what it means all you have to do is give them a listen. If you want a more technical answer, I’ll break down the two genres for you. Soul is about feeling, emoting that feeling, and translating that message into relatable lyrics. It is also characterized by this infectious, feel-good personality. Soul artists achieve these qualities by techniques, such as call and response, backbeat, and the introduction of percussion and piano elements. Punk, on the other hand, though similar in its goals, such as expressing emotion through your vocals, whether that be anger, desperation, or truth, takes a different approach musically. The elements that letlive. takes from the punk genre involve things like a fast-paced tempo, hard-edged melodies, aggressive attitudes within their songs, and high energy music. Though letlive. is not defined generally as a punk band, it is hard to refute the fact that they definitely have the attitude. Whether it be their background roots in post-hardcore or the introduction of soul and punk elements into their music, letlive. embodies bits and pieces of every genre. As a result, they have created some of the most pure and honest music of the generation. See the graphic below for the breakdown.
More specifically, their music is full of energetic drum beats and upbeat, funky guitar riffs that really adds in a flavor of soul to their wonderful musical concoction. Imagine that dash of soul combined with the vocal approach of bands like Rage Against the Machine and The Chariot. If all of that were mixed together, it’d be similar to what letlive. does. But, this should not discount the fact that letlive. is still their own thing. They may be influenced by other sounds and bands, but they are much more than an assimilated band; Yes, they used elements from other bands to help build their own, but they used those elements to create a whole new subset that has yet to be explored by many in the rock universe. Music is about growing from what you love and making it into something that truly speaks to who you are as an artist and that is what letlive. has embodied throughout their albums.
Speaking of albums, they are currently riding the wave that their latest album , The Blackest Beautiful (2013), has elicited within the waters of the post-hardcore genre. I’m not saying that they are stirring up the waters like they are controversial, but rather that they are causing a huge splash with their eclectic, fresh take on the genre. And when you hear songs like “Banshee (Ghost Fame)” and “That Fear Fever” that wave will hit you and the face, and though it will push you back with it’s aggressiveness, it will leave you feeling refreshed afterwards. Their sound really grew within this album from their previous album release, Fake History. Though the previously explained qualities are present, they were evolved and expanded upon further in The Blackest Beautiful (Seen in the image below).
If all of this isn’t enough to convince you, just listen for yourself below. You won’t hear one genre in their music, but many. Their influences are clear, but their vision is even stronger. And remember, your eardrums will be getting down the minute those sound waves hit your ears.
Letlive. is considered to be a post-hardcore band by the hardcore communities, but I believe that they are much more than that. They are much too unique to be confined within that one genre. And in my opinion, they have spearheaded a new realm of their own that is just as full of energy and in-your-face as punk and post-hardcore, but also have beats and techniques that are all-to-characteristic of soul. Regardless of what categories you place them in, letlive. is letlive., there is no one like them, and they are in a complete league of their own. But, music is meant to be shared, it is meant to influence, and it is my hope that many others follow their lead and continue to introduce the mantra of “Soul Punx” to the world.
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