Lifehouse took a sabbatical after the release of 2012's Almeria, the three members following their own muses in a variety of different projects. This break didn't last long. In 2014, the group reconvened, first playing a few gigs, then reuniting with longtime producer Jude Cole to record the album that became 2015's Out of the Wasteland. Although this record came out on the independent label Ironworks -- an imprint run by Cole and Kiefer Sutherland -- it feels designed for a major label, a major that would've existed about a decade earlier, when Lifehouse were still climbing into the Billboard Top Ten. That fate may not befall Out of the Wasteland, but it is an immaculately constructed record, easing between insistent midtempo anthems and power ballads, neither feeling all that different than the other. Cole's production turns Out of the Wasteland into a cool, glassy balm, but this doesn't undercut Lifehouse's emotional intent (Jason Wade wrote the majority of the record, with Bryce Soderberg penning "Stardust" with Pelle Hillstrom). Like on Almeria, the group indulges in middle-aged introspection here, so Cole's expertly modulated production suits the sentiment, in addition to turning it into fine mood music.
Out of the Wasteland Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine