American rock band Lifehouse released their 6th studio album ‘Almería’ on December 11th, 2012. The new offering features the single “Between the Raindrops” featuring Natasha Bedingfield, a song that took over 3 months for the band to complete. Wrapped in a heavy chorus beat, the song does a good job of setting up the feel for the rest of the album, a mix of soft alternative rock mingling with hints of a western style.
At first, ‘Almería’ is not easy to swallow on the first listen. It’s lack of past pop rock hooks and ballads such as “Whatever It Takes” from ‘Who We Are’ makes the record come off as a bland set. However, after several listens in full, the mix of meaningful lyrics and rock infused with scattered beats begins to catch the ear such as in songs “Nobody Listen,” a song that bypassed the demo stages as lead singer Jason Wade just sporadically started laying down ideas. “Can we find who we are/ If we stare at a star/ In the silence of screams/ There is nothing that is as it seems/ Like everybody talk, nobody listen,” he sings over a progressive rock chorus sampling beats on the heels of “Between the Raindrops.”
One of the most laid-back songs Lifehouse has recorded can be found on ‘Almería.’ “Slow Motion” is drawn out with a throw back feel to the Doors, using sitars and atmospheric patterns. Wade’s soft gritty voice compliments the track, feeling as if you could be in a trance.
A magical moment on the album happens on track 6, “Only You’re The One.” Moody and passionate at the same time, the setting of the song is at a concert with two people enjoying their time together. “It’s the event we dreamed about/ Where we whispered all the words they’re shouting out/ Now it’s 1, 2, 3, 4 tonight,” he sings before the chorus of lights going down and they’re together. Wade’s vocal performance stands out as one of his best more so when the bridge comes and his subtle power captures the emotion in his higher register.
Twisted chords of both despair and hope, “Where I Come From” is about a bond that has left him feeling alone. “And I feel so far from home/ Wherever you are is where I come from” ends the chorus. By the last portion of the song, the foot is tapping and the heart is aching as he sings “Why am I feeling so alone/ Looking back you were the only one.”
While ‘Almería’ certainly has its slow down tracks, the energy is taken through the roof on the foot stomping rockabilly style “Right Back Home” featuring Peter Frampton and Charles Jones. Frampton pulled out his famous Les Paul he named Phoenix that was thought to be burned in a plane crash, but was returned to him 31 years later. His rips through a solo section of the song as if this were made to be a jam session on stage. Essentially the entire song could be about that guitar as Frampton joins in vocally on the track.
The sweet moment of the record comes at “Aftermath.” Lead by a piano, it describes the worst being in the past, making it out alive and meeting in the aftermath to pick up where the love left off. It’s a perfect song for a couple making amends or a soldier reuniting with his wife. Symbolically it simply sums up letting the past go and moving towards a better future.
Lifehouse’s traditional ballad style can be found on the bonus track “Always Somewhere Close.” It is reminiscent of “Whatever It Takes” in terms of the composition. It describes a relationship that has a bond of feeling safety. “I’m telling from the heart/ You know I love you most/ If I break or fall apart/ You’re always somewhere close,” Wade sings.
All in all, the album has its high and low points but the entire project blends from one song to the next. The band went on an experimental path and tested out taking a new approach. The result is Lifehouse with growth.
‘Almería’ has peaked at No. 12 on the US Top Rock Albums Billboard chart and the single "Gotta Be Tonight" will be released on February 14th.
Download this: “Only You’re The One,” “Right Back Home,” “Where I Come From, “Pins & Needles”