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Past Lives is well-executed post-hardcore from L.S. Dunes

"Past Lives"

Release date: 11 November 2022
6/10
Ls dunes past lives art
08 November 2022, 00:00 Written by Marie Oleinik
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It’s okay to roll your eyes at the news about several seasoned musicians coming together to form another supergroup.

Maybe they will go on to grow bigger than the sum of their parts, maybe the shockwaves will fizzle out with the headlines on release week. Sometimes it’s hard to predict the future of such ambitious projects, but in the case of L.S. Dunes, it feels outright unnecessary. You all still believe in a future? Be serious.

“If I can’t make it 'till 2022 - least we’ll see how much I can take,” Anthony Green sings in the opening track ‘2022’, “the most fucked-up song” he ever wrote. Sadly, the lyrics still ring relevant when applied to 2023. When Green (Circa Survive, Saosin), Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance), Travis Stever (Coheed and Cambria), Tim Payne (Thursday) and Tucker Rule (Thursday) first got together in the midst of the pandemic, they didn’t write Past Lives with the intention of leaving a legacy. They definitely didn’t plan to debut this album at a massive festival just a year later, to a crowd larger than any of their own bands saw at their first shows decades ago.

“Stop trying to make it seem like you give a shit / You don’t have to believe in anything,” Green sings on "Grey Veins", his high vocals piercing through the thundering drums. A constant sense of doom and defeat permeates this record with rare glimmers of hope sparkling throughout. This is such well-executed post-hardcore, calling back to Pierce The Veil, Chiodos, Emarosa and other early 2010s’ proponents of the genre. But with all the right elements in all the right places, why does it feel like something is missing?

The frustrating thing about Past Lives is that it simply sounds like good music. It is not bigger or smaller than the sum of its parts – it’s exactly that. The members got the recipe just right, but it doesn’t leave much of an aftertaste. "2022" and "Antibodies" grab the listener’s attention from the get-go, but it’s hard to remember what happens in the middle of the album. The best song "Permanent Rebellion" came out as a debut single months ago and already lost its novelty.

Maybe the expectations for this record have been set too high, but it does feel like the L.S. Dunes PR team has been doing more legwork than the actual band. After all, the rollout for this project was so fun, with all the suspense and mystery built up. Months before Past Lives was announced and faces revealed, fans figured out the members’ identities based on nothing but their shadows.

But even though Past Lives is not particularly remarkable. It will be well loved by MCR, Thursday, and Circa Survive fans who have profound respect for the lineup. I can also see it resonating with casual post-hardcore listeners, who were never fond of these bands in the first place.

With such a great momentum on their side, L.S. Dunes could become what late-'10s emo supergroup Isles & Glaciers failed to be, though more likely Green, Iero, Stever, Payne and Rule will do another album and move on to something new. After all, they have nothing to prove – just lifelong friends doing what they do best and having fun with it here and now, each one a master of their craft. In a way, that’s what makes this record so nice – just how uninterested it is in growing on you.

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