CURRENTLY LISTENING: Staycation by Low Lives

NY’s Low Lives offer up lots of catchy bits mix with the perfect amount of punk grit in their first release Staycation. I suppose it’s true that anything Phil Douglas touches turns out amazing, but that aside, these compositions are well-crafted and unique. At first listen early The Get-Up Kids’ came to mind—there’s a similar tasteful sloppiness in the way the layered guitar progressions crash against one another. But then you pay attention to the details and what might set these songs apart. This isn’t a simple pop punk record. Staycation touches more on the dark & moody with hints of brightness to keep it from getting too self-indulgent. Classy back-ups by Jess Warren cut through and bolster the melodies (particularly on “Staycation”). The singalong sections are really addictive and help add a sense of inclusion for the listener. “Ditmars, Steinway, Whatever” is one of the stand-out tracks for me: the groveling low-end verse picks up sudden momentum for a raging chorus and the built-up tension subsides into a calmer break-down. It’s a stormy sea of a song that’s representative of LI emotive punk and most of the other tracks echo that classic sentiment. “Lackluster”, too, rehashes that Long Island nostalgia but more so in the lyrics. The repeating of “I was a second in your eyes” perfectly conveys that grown-up feeling (resentment? loss?) of being left behind, something that living on an island does to most people. It’s also something we can all appreciate, especially when formed within a crashing sound of guitars and chest-beating rhythms. Even if it’s not your new favorite record, it’s one definitely worth listening to. Hear it for yourself & support the band here.