After a contentious break-up in 2009, a two-year hiatus (through 2011), a skeptically received announcement about a new lead singer (in 2012), and then another two years waiting for new music, LIVE has finally delivered a new album. Officially released on October 28, The Turn contains almost 50 minutes of sound that’s similar enough to old-school LIVE to satisfy the faithful, but with an edge that’s sure to win over new fans.
LIVE’s signature sound in the 1990s was a unique blend of spiritually inspired lyrics with alternative rock sound. Now, focusing less on the faith, love, and water that seem to constantly flow through the old albums, The Turn digs up a darker, harder twist — and also includes a few references to fire. “Siren’s Call,” focusing on the torment of losing oneself to another, seems to be in direct opposition to “Dance with You” (1999) which presents getting lost in love as a graceful experience.
The harder side of LIVE isn’t necessarily a new thing; earlier songs such as “White, Discussion” from Throwing Copper (1994) or “Lakini’s Juice” from Secret Samadhi (1997) both have a darker feel with a sound best described as “hollow.” Songs from The Turn, such as “6310 Rodgerton Dr” could be seen as progressions of those earlier sounds.
The lengthy delay following the departure of original frontman, Ed Kowalczyk, and the addition of Chris Schinn allowed time to thoughtfully redefine LIVE. The time was well spent. The Turn presents a good balance between LIVE’s original personality and the new chemistry produced by Schinn, Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer, and Chad Gracey, the other founding members of the group.
Offering up 11 tracks, The Turn is a great comeback album. “Natural Born Killers” in particular tells a good story; “The Way Around Is Through” offers good advice and “The Strength to Hold On” will hopefully someday be performed by LIVE with the support of an orchestra.
Key Tracks: Natural Born Killers, The Way Around Is Through, The Strength to Hold On