With titles of tracks like “Thug Appeal” and “California Split”, I had no clue that what Left is West was going to assault me with during the beginning of “Ride” would be so tender and mild. While there are some guitars that bring this song into Goo Goo Dolls territory, there is still the sense that what Left is West is doing with these early tracks is making a run for the easy rock of acts like Dishwalla or Counting Crows. Where “Ride” was a sleeper track, Left is West get into their groove with “A Sad Situation”.
The lyrics are given a proper rub, so that individuals will be singing along only a few times after first listening to the track. “Thug Appeal” slows things back down again, to the point that the Left is West can orient itself with the early sixties pop rock movement. There are moments where the band increases their intensity, but these moments are few and far between. It is perfectly okay that the band would rather finesse their listeners. This is due to the fact that they can whip out something like what is stuck mid-way through “Thug Appeal”. A country style, replete with slide guitar, is allowed to blend with a more psychedelic style (presented by a keyboard).
This is not anything that could have been foreseen, but is a nice surprise for listeners. Left is West moves back to a more current sound for their “California Split”. While there are moments where the band moves back into the tender approach to their vocals, the guitars and drums burst out at all the right places to make this track memorable. The guitar sol present during this track cps things off and shows listeners that Left is West has a tremendous of technical virtuosity, even if it is not something that is always shown during “Alive Between The Record Sleeves”. Left is West come up with an album that actually crafts a specific sound to the tracks on it. Where most albums nowadays are mainly created as a vehicle to forward a few singles, individuals will be able to begin listening to “Ride” and end with “Drop The Needle”, picking up on subtle notes dropped by the band throughout. It is fitting that Left is West mention record sleeves here, as this album hearkens back to a time where the record was the preferred medium, and bands were able to create a piece of art on a slab of vinyl.
Top Tracks: Ride, Unloved
Left is West – Alive Between The Record Sleeves / 2006 Barely Bias / 10 Tracks / http://www.leftiswest.com / http://www.barelybias.com / Reviewed 06 December 2006