The Rosebuds : Life Like

<img src="" alt=" " />The Rosebuds give a wistful look back at the past in their latest, <i>Life Like</i>. ...
The Rosebuds - Life Like
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 The Rosebuds give a wistful look back at the past in their latest, Life Like. Barely a year removed from Night of the Furies (QRO review), husband-and-wife duo Kelly Crisp & Ivan Howard return with their latest “art project”.  Whereas Furies brought up a synth-heavy anger at today’s world, which translated into danceability, Life Like is more like an elegy for all that has been lost, while retaining that spark of a hope for the future.  Yet the North Carolina pair still retain that outdoors feel which has permeated all their projects.

The record starts with its titular track, one that Crisp has called “the most about [Ivan] that he’s ever written.”  The low-key, ominous drive introduces Life Like well, with flowing harmonies that both settle and unsettle.  Melancholy definitely dominates Life Like (in a way that the anger behind Furies never quite could): “Border Guards” gives another flowing touch, higher this time, while “Another Way In” goes dark in its foreboding melody.  There is still a pair of more upbeat tracks, early in the record, in “Cape Fear” and “Bow to the Middle”.  “Fear” – ironically the least scary piece on Life Like – has a catchy, rockin’ rhythm, while “Middle” is the record’s one out-right dance number, with the Crisp-led song reminiscent of toe-tappers on Furies like “I Better Run”.

While “Concordian Music Club” takes that Furies synth into Life’s more downbeat terrain, it is the sad, alt-country strum that really holds sway over Life Like, especially in its latter half.  Yet this doesn’t feel leaden over over-emoting: the wistfulness of “Nice Fox” is pervasive, but winning, even catchy.  The penultimate “Black Hole” is more carrying and epic in its strum, while even the preceding whistler “Hello Darlin’” feels tinged.  Finisher “In the Backyards” really sums Life Like up, in a sad, wistful song about the past delivered from the bygone heart of Dixie.

If Night of the Furies was The Rosebuds going big and going out, then Life Like is Crisp & Howard returning home after the war, surveying the damage that the storm hath wrought.  Yet some things never change, most of all in the South: lain beneath the alt-country strum and rock is the kind of thing any Citizen would look back on in longing.

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