Not many bands could survive a nearly ten-year layoff between full-length releases and survive this well intact, but it's obvious that Jessica Griffin and her Would-Be-Goods are not the common guitar pop band. Having dropped off the radar of the British twee pop scene she helped create, Griffin follows up a few years of scattered live performances and EPs worth of material with a remarkably solid set of shimmering guitar tunes and vignettes cataloging the whimsical travails of an impressive array of lonely and self-absorbed characters. Her lyrical or melodic sense not dulled by the years of inactivity, the songs crackle with a vibrancy and maturity that arguably rivals her work from a decade earlier. Joined by guitarist Peter Momtchiloff (formerly of twee pop legends Heavenly), the 16 songs bound from the early Beatles vigor of "Dilettante" and "Flashman" to the sweetly swinging "Butterfly Kiss" and the sorrowful "Whitsun Bride," as Griffin cuts to the essence of her stories in a style reminiscent of Ray Davies. All in all, Brief Lives is a fine testament to Griffin's consistency as a songwriter and resiliency as an artist.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Matt Fink