Lifejacket formed in 2011 playing their first gig at that summer’s Chaos festival and stacking up plenty of gigs since – for the last year though the band have remained rather quiet as they headed into their own studio to hone and record their debut album, the excellently (if longwindedly) titled, Let’s Get This Out Of Our System And Move On, and rarely has a title summed up the sound of a record better.
What the “post-rock” three-piece (guitarist/vocalist Andy Sauvage, bassist John McCarthy and drummer Claire Mockett) have created is a set of eight cathartic indie rock songs heaped with disaffected passion, throbbing bass, thundering drums, angular spiky guitars and brilliantly off beat lyrics.
Starting off with No Show it’s all systems go from the opening blast as the band exhibit a greater control than they do in the live environment which allows a different side of them to cut through. While there’s still a vicious, bitter and cynical mood (in the best of cathartic ways) it is with a more recognisable indie-rock sound, topped with layers of work that could only come out in the studio.
With these extra sounds, coming in the form synths, layered guitars and more backing vocals, Lifejacket have used the studio in the most effective of ways to embellish the songs so, while the essence of what makes them work live is still there, there is an extra level on show as well – along with a few ‘Easter eggs’ which reward repeat listens nicely.
As the album goes on Sauvage’s lyrics particularly struck me as he displays a sense of wit often missing in pop in all its many forms. This is most on show in Lifejacket’s two track’s decrying celebrity culture, Meanwhile In Hollywood and What Does That Mean, while in Merrick the same style is used to investigate what seem to be thoughts around human nature towards animals, showing there is a range of issues in the head the writer, all inspiring a fascinating and unique sense of articulation.
Strangely the one track that doesn’t really fit in with the rest on the record is the first the band recorded and released, and a perennial live favourite, Brains. It’s horror punk style is somewhat at odds with what surrounds it, but it does act as a slight change of pace half way through and is still a great song packed with some excellent references for zombie fans.
With sonic references across the album to the likes of Nirvana and The Holy Bible-era Manic Street Preachers, Let’s Get This Out Of Our System And Move On would sound great in any situation, but, in the context of having been entirely self-produced it is astounding and shows another facet of the band’s talents.
Rounding off with the distortion drenched Yacht Shoes that heads in the direction of The Wildheart’s Endless, Nameless (though nothing is that distorted), Lifejacket round of the efficient and effective Let’s Get This Out Of Our System And Move On with the same sense of a short, sharp, shock it begins on what is certainly one of Guernsey’s top rock records of 2014.
In August 2015 Lifejacket released a physical version of the album alongside a stand out performance at the Vale Earth Fair, to coincide with the release an updated version of this review was published in Gallery Magazine