Since the release of 2010’s ‘Love Let Me Go’, the South West’s recently reformed More Than Life have become a household name in the UKHC scene. Whilst ‘Love Let Me Go’ was fairly generic and forgettable, ‘What’s Left Of Me’ is quite the opposite; More Than Life successfully manage to balance the themes and imagery of loss and regret with that of confidence and hopefulness.
‘What’s Left Of Me’ is essentially the sound of a broken heart going purging the pain, and this is emphasied in the melodies the band use. Once again, the most captivating part of the record is the guitar parts, be it the sombre arpeggio that runs throughout album opener ‘Asleep’ which casts a solemn light over the album, whilst the harmonious guitars in the final minute of ‘Seasons Change’ introduce the theme of optimism.
Thanks to some bands in the same genre, those unfamiliar with the band may immediately presume More Than Life to be a band with far too much reverb and an excessive amount of melodrama when really, they’re anything but. Much like American peers Touché Amoré, More Than Life balance the outright aggression of hardcore records such as Modern Life Is War‘s ‘Witness’ with the melodic sensibilities of bands like Pianos Become The Teeth or Defeater.
It’s ‘Do You Remember’ that sticks out as the highlight of the record. It’s a sad affair that, lyrically, is layered in nostalgia, making it instantly relatable for any of us who have gone through a messy break-up. It’s the anthemic chorus of “Do you remember me? / Young, naive and turning nineteen” that cements the track as one of the best in the band’s discography. The use of a piano is interesting and most effective in the verses, keeping the song emotive throughout and the swelling reverb in the guitars adds to the overall atmosphere.
Unlike their debut, there’s no ‘Curtains Closing’ on this record, with the obvious exception of the aforementioned lead single. With the exception of this there are no truly staggering moments on offer here, which is such a shame because More Than Life have such great potential. The climaxes the band strive for at the emotive peak of some tracks often feel too brief and too rushed to be impressive. For some, it’ll be the shrill vocals that either make or break the band.
Overall though, ‘What’s Left Of Me’ is a solid record that sees More Than Life mark their territory in the UKHC scene and, whether you like them or not, they’re here to stay.
Written by Jack Boaden
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.