Lifetime - Lifetime 12 inch
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Reunions, especially reunion albums, are sticky situations. There's always the big possibility of fan disappointment, as expectations are high for a band to deliver just like they did before, even though they've been out of their groove for years. But sometimes, sometimes, the universe aligns just right and reunited material can sound just as good as one desires. New Jersey's Lifetime is one of these bands. Having become underground heroes to legions of punk fans since their 1997 breakup, their first album of new material in a decade is a reunion done right, mostly because it feels nothing like one. Lifetime feels completely natural, like the guys never even left in the first place -- this record could easily pass for having been recorded a few years after their 1997 swan song, Jersey's Best Dancers. It's almost ridiculous how tight, undeniably catchy and compelling the Lifetime crew sounds ten years, some marriages, and a Ph.D. after the fact. Ari Katz still can't be bothered to pronounce more than a handful of words in any given line, but that doesn't stop songs like the chunky "Airport Monday Morning" and "Northbound Breakdown" to hit fast and hit hard. Lines like "Don't take your love away so soon/We can just play records at night/I know it's been a long time" (from the poppy "Records at Nite") prove that while the guys may be older and more mature, they're still the same hardcore kids at heart, fawning over their vinyl collections and falling in and out of love. And though they're definitely not breaking any new ground, the simple fact that the band seem totally oblivious of current music trends actually works in their favor: melodic hardcore this alive has been few and far between since they broke up. Lifetime is as familiar, refreshing and totally invigorating as one could hope it to sound -- and all this in just over 23 minutes.