By: Bill Clifford
Georgia's Perpetual Groove is taking some risks on their third studio release. Livelovedie is a first of its kind recording, according to press materials, which tell us the packaging is made from 100-percent recyclable materials, including soy inks and consumer and manufacturing waste. This means zero negative impact on the environment. It's a bold move for any band, but more so for one still in its developmental stages.
Far more risky is the move towards a heavier rock sound. Livelovedie is much more guitar driven than its melodic predecessors. Tracks such as "Two Shores," "Mayday," "Crapshoot" and the nearly eight-minute live staple "Speed Queen" feature dense, wailing, layered guitar tracks. That's not to say that it doesn't have its melodic side, too. Opener, "Save For One," is replete with slide guitar and thick swells of B3 organ. At just under four-minutes it's as polished and catchy as anything you'll find on modern radio.
As songwriters, the quartet has grown in leaps and bounds. Juxtaposed against the wailing guitars of "Save For One" is the confidence of performers who just put on "one hell of a show" heading off on an early morning drive with "no construction and no lights, save for one - the natural light of day." You feel the sentiment as though you were riding shotgun next to the narrator. Both "It Starts Where It Ends" and Crapshoot" reference life and love as a gamble, understanding how "some things in life will never go your way."
"Dust" may be the most radio friendly cut the band has ever written. With weeping slide guitar drenched with thick keyboard swells, "So Much As Goodbye" is a lament to lost love that changes pace and mood mid-song, wallowing in vengeful lap steel, electronic beats and steady rhythms before returning to the ballad. The same mood prevails on disc closer "Only Always," which contains this elegant coda:
In between, all the saddest things I've seen
Don't come close to what has been
All the great things yet to be
Things that keep me in between
Throughout their short career, Perpetual Groove has shown a tendency toward risk taking. Whether producing concerts in 5.1 Surround Sound or promoting its own summer festival over a holiday weekend, the risks have paid off. With Livelovedie, the band has embarked on its most risky endeavor yet; one that may see the band crossover from a jam scene stalwart to a larger, more traditional rock audience.
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