On Life; Living is Vaux's second effort and their first since Johnny Law forced a name change from Eiffel. The band makes quite a bit of noise over four songs, stretching three of them past five minutes. They also deserve credit for airing their grievances in true, choppy, sometimes aimless post-hardcore fashion. This music has little to do with the highly tweaked, lushly orchestrated sound of groups like Thrice or Thursday. There is a similarly epic quality here, with changes coming fast and furious and filling up middles of songs with bizarre dips and rises. But while the post-hardcore establishment seems to encourage grandiose lyrical flights and accompanying string sections, Vaux pours on the noise with three guitars and whiny, potentially out-of-key vocals that convey emotion through unsettling tension. There's barely a break between "On" and "To the End;" the songs' staccato percussion and stuttering guitars simply stop and then start up again as Quentin Smith drifts into a Fugazi-style interlude. But he's back just as quickly, screaming something unintelligible that's nevertheless powerful. Vaux doesn't seem fully formed yet, but On Life; Living points them in a promising direction.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus