Together Again for the First Time

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From the opening riff, it's obvious the listener is in for one hell of a ride. It's been two years since Pulley's last album, and in the interim guitarist Jim has departed, thus the title Together Again for the First Time. But being reduced to a quartet has not diminished the band's sound in the least; in fact, Pulley sounds stronger and tighter than ever. The album is packed with a baker's dozen of tracks that crackle with energy, and the production (by Ryan Greene and the band itself) captures the excitement of its stageshow and pulls it directly into the studio. A non-stop barrage of blistering tracks, all clocking in at just over two minutes, this is Pulley at its most frenetic. However, that doesn't mean melodies and harmonies have been thrown to the wind; if anything the hooks are brighter, and the songs more anthemic. The themes remain diverse, but mostly personal, the lyrics sharp and conveying deep emotions in just a few words. "Long Lost Trip" is particularly notable, etching the futility of living one's life by others' values, "Sick Feeling" is a taut vignette of a dying relationship, "In Search" is about one in trouble, while the exuberant "Hooray for Me" is a celebration of bandhood with a bluegrass tinge. They're right, it is just like the first time, only better.

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