The Life and Times Wild Card

When Shiner parted ways two years ago, fans were left stunned. The band seemed to be at the top of their game. Nonetheless, Shiner’s leader Allen Epley had other designs. Rather than continue to construct songs with difficult rhythms and complicated chord progressions, Epley recruited a new band to explore the challenge of simplifying his music.

The Life & Times work with the textures of their instruments in the way that early R.E.M. or U2 did. Their newly-released full-length, *Suburban Hymns*, shows the band as comfortable navigating through slow-building anthems as through quick-paced rockers.

Epley’s voice cuts right through the almost shoe-gazing guitars. With a bit of crunch on them thanks to J. Robbins’ production, the vocals center the often spacey guitars and rapid drumming. Though the music may make clear references to the arena-friendly rock of U2, The Life & Times are grounded in Epley’s direct delivery and visual lyrics. With an over-abundance of self-important would-be arena rockers these days, The Life & Times set themselves apart by making anthems that sound prosaic.

[This appeared in the Rage as a preview for the L&T’s show.]