Past Lives | Tapestry Of Webs (Suicide Squeeze)

Spot-on guitars and almost addictive solos that seem to beckon for a second listen also mesh will with the best parts of Past Lives.

Following the 2007 break-up of The Blood Brothers, little was known about what sort of musical plain would be sought by its unique and diversified musicians. While singers Jordan Billie and Johnny Whitney were more than likely the most noticeable aspect of the band, Billie always seemed to hold an ethereal presence during the more melodic explorations of The Blood Brothers.

Now, Billie, joined by Blood Brothers’ bassist Morgan Henderson and drummer Mark Gajadhar, as well as former Shoplifting guitarist Devin Welch, has embarked on a new venture with the formation of Past Lives, a post-punk, dance-groove driven quartet hailing from Seattle. Their debut album, Tapestry Of Webs, speaks volumes for the hard work and dedication the band has put into their writing since 2008’s Strange Symmetry EP, revealing that members of a post-hardcore band known for their artistic take on the more ominous and looming aspects of life know how to transform their talents in order to produce a sound that provides a nice change of pace.

Past Lives, in nearly every way, represent something much more than what many would assume would be a Blood Brothers 2.0, as Billie’s vocals still contain remnants of his blistering howls, but have been wholly traded in for a more focused and refined vocal range that suits the band’s rhythmic tempo rather well. Accompanying the surrealistic croons of Billie is a percussion section that drives the dancier parts of the album; energetic in its own right, the drums transition from the simplest of beats to more structured sets that draw the listener’s full attention in the absence of vocals.

Despite an undertone of toe-tapping grooves found throughout Tapestry Of Webs, the band takes the time to offer a spacey vibe that exemplifies the explorative nature of the outing and their willingness to enter new musical territory feet first. The album’s fifth track, “Deep In The Valley,” brings a halt to the pop aesthetic, delivering a wave of sounds that seem to hold up in a song that is wide in its transitions. While the song represents diversity for the group, it also allows for some of Billie’s more hypnagogic lyrics: “The future came and went in a limousine/you’re standing in the stench of gasoline.” Dream-like, Billie’s words almost seem to offer an insight to the direction the band’s music will continue to head in future endeavors as a correlation between periods of time are reflected upon again and again. 

Spot-on guitars and almost addictive solos that seem to beckon for a second listen also mesh will with the best parts of Past Lives. Welch abandons his heavier tendencies and chugging style for string-picking riffs and chorus lines that resemble the work of bands like The Life and Times, a style that not only compliments the band as a whole, but that sets them aside from others in the heavily-crowded genre today.

With a fresh sound and a well-known cast, Past Lives will certainly find their way to college radio stations across the country and remain a staple in the scene for quite some time. Aside from the obvious go-around that critics will have with the correlation between past projects and what has been formed now in the band, Tapestry Of Webs speaks for itself as a notable and interesting record with much to offer. Those seeking an escape from their tired circulation of music will not be disappointed. A- | Joe Witthaus

RIYL: !!!, The Life And Times

Past Lives will be appearing at the Firebird on Wednesday, March 24 with Airwaves, Spelling Bee and Egg Chef. Doors at 7:30 p.m./show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Their entire new album is also up for streaming at


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