This Is Your Life

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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger

A big, emotionally naked, and relentlessly melodic blast of anthemic indie rock that does everything but ask the audience to go ahead and pump their fists, This Is Your Life aims so far past the nosebleed seats that it may as well be bouncing off of a satellite. The third outing from the spirited Brooklyn-based trio formerly known as We Are Augustines, TIYL bristles with unabashed earnestness and Springsteen-inspired colloquialisms. Fevered frontman Billy McCarthy, whose heated delivery invokes Glen Hansard, Craig Finn, and Eric Bachmann by way of Neil Diamond, is constantly imploring wild-eyed lovers to hold on, wait, fuck, fight, and get the hell out of Dodge, "Thunder Road" style. Recorded in Los Angeles and New Orleans with Peter Katis (Frightened Rabbit, Interpol), the ten-track set is a simmering cauldron of stadium rock cliches that more often than not, rises above its myriad trappings by sheer force of will. There's no denying the sonic power behind bona fide roof-lifters like "Are We Alive," "When Things Fall Apart," "No Need to Explain," and the full-hearted title cut, but it can be hard to tell, outside of a steamy concert hall, whether or not the source of that power rings true. With This Is Your Life, McCarthy and company have found a way to tap into the base level emotionality behind rising above adversity, remaining pure in your convictions, and falling in and out of love, with a real workmanlike appeal. That said, these are songs that live or die by how far they can bury the applause needle, and devoid of any of that audience energy, it's hard not to smell the desperation.

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