The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – Communion (Yep Roc Records)

I noticed The Soundtrack Of Our Lives (who are thankfully no longer legally forced to call themselves TSOOL) were taking a really long time on the follow-up to 2005’s Origin,Vol.1, which I attributed to the search for a new label (they decided on Yep Roc). However, it turns out the band spent the last four years making Communion, a two-disc effort lasting a staggering ninety-three minutes! Where almost all double-albums fall into that classic pitfall of being one really good album padded out with a second album’s worth of filler (The White Album, The Wall, Speakerboxx/The Love Below, Use Your Illusion to name a few), Communion is the opposite – in fact it’s their most consistent albun and 2/3 of these twenty-four songs could be singles on most other people’s albums.

Anyone familiar with the band knows what to expect from them by now, but for the uninitiated their music combine psychedelia, stadium-sized Brit-pop anthems and proto-punk energy. They deliver on all three fronts on Communion, often simultaneously, with Ebbot Lundberg’s powerful voice the only constant from song to song. Musical versatility is the name of the game here, and the group is savages the harder songs – like the absolutely ripping “Mensa’s Marauders”, and the opening “Babel On” – while also stirring up genuine melancholy on softer numbers “Without Warning”, “The Ego Delusion” and “Second Life Replay” despite the occasional goofy new age sentiment and awkward wordplay which reminds you that English is not their first language. A cover of Nick Drake’s “Fly” deserves special mention, with The Soundtrack Of Our Lives turning it into a big rock song without sacrificing the original’s beauty – a real stunner.