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Living Space - Secret Lives, Strange Goodbyes Review

by Gary Schwind

This album kicks off with "Clear," a mellow song that is a good showcase for the cohesion of the band. The song ends with an instrumental that is reminiscent of mid-to-late Beatles.

The second song, "Pill Box," reminds me quite a bit of Sugar, both vocally and musically. They display the same sort of energy that Sugar displayed on their Copper Blue album.

They also incorporate some Toad the Wet Sprocket influence in "Kristine." This song sounds quite a bit like Pale-era Toad. A band could do worse, at least in my opinion.

At their best, Living Space plays melodic rock that reminds me of vintage Elvis Costello. You know, before Elvis Costello started singing Burt Bacharach songs. "Lover" sounds similar to one of the bonus tracks added to "My Aim is True" by Rykodisc. As a side note, "In My Mind" sounds like a song Elvis Costello might have done after he entered his Burt Bacharach phase.

On the flip side, this band has a couple songs that seem best suited for slow numbers at a junior high or high school dance. "Daisy Miller" feels a lot like something you should listen to when you're moving in circles on the gym floor underneath a disco ball. When I hear "Let it All Go" I can't help but think of Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper standing arm's length apart as they dance with each other at the end of an episode of The Wonder Years.

Living Space is a pretty tight band. They just didn't really grab my attention with this album. A lot of the songs are very uninspiring. Furthermore, I don't know if they've fully developed their own sound. In just about every song, I can hear shades of someone else's music. I know it's hard to come up with a sound that is completely original. The trick that I think Living Space needs to learn is how to incorporate influences without sounding exactly like the bands that influenced them.

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