Life - A Song For All Occasions
By David Demarest
David Culiner of Love This Life is an artist,
a musician, a part time philosopher, and most recently, a clothier to the
stars. All of this must go a long ways towards explaining why the
production of his band’s debut album, “A song for all occasions,” has been
an eight year process. For sure he’s been busy, but he’s also been
careful: Careful to put together the right mix of songs produced with the
right group of musicians and packaged along with pages of uplifting and
life affirming slogans.
Specifically, that’s what he’s done with
Love This Life’s new album “A song for all occasions.” While creator
David Culiner may insist that “Love this Life is whoever happens to be
around when the music’s written, recorded, broadcast, or performed,” the
album’s actual pedigree is far more impressive (though everyone should
at least appreciate the feel good sentiment intended.). Solidly grounded
by drummer Pete Maloney (Dishwalla, Josh Clayton Felt) and bassist David
Sutton (Tears for Fears, Tracy Chapman, Liz Phair), the searching melodies
of David Culiner and lead guitarist David Duncan bring a slightly haunting
vibe to most of the tracks, and the album is masterfully mixed and engineered
by Jeff Sheehan (Nirvana, Black Crows, Tom Petty).
Certainly, this is an album put together
with a good deal of style, and given the time and talent of everyone involved,
that’s exactly what you’d expect. What you might not expect are some
of the more human touches involved in this project. Independently
made, you can buy this album off of Love This Life’s diverse website (maybe
pick up some yoga togs while you’re there) for about $10, which in my opinion
ought to be the industry standard but isn’t. What you get for your
money is a CD that was made without cutting any corners. The cover
and inside art are beautiful, the notes extensive, and the lyrics are included
in the liner. The art on the CD itself is full color and the musical
content comes through clear and well balanced. In short, there’s
a lot of good to be said about this album all around.
Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to “A
song for all occasions,” as well. Some of them serious. For
starters, as much as its creator may want to believe that it is, this is
not a rock album. The exhaustive balancing and harmonizing work have
smoothed out whatever rock edge might have once existed on the album.
Secondly, and perhaps more seriously, Love This Life does not seem to be
born out of any traditional rock background (rebellion, angst, or musical
exploration, for instance), but is a rather more reflective album focused
both on what life has been to this point and what it could be for the future.
Which is all fine, but it isn’t rock and roll.
This album comes by it’s faults honestly
enough: after all, this is hardly a make or break effort for Culiner- if
it sells, if it finds an audience, great. If not… well, don’t feel
bad for David Culiner, I have a feeling he’s doing just fine. Additionally,
this album has come together over the space of several years, which is
reflected not only in its lack of mistakes, but the years of rehashing
also result in a feeling that’s been pared down past the point of
expressing much of the original (probably) emotional intent.
All in all, I liked this album just okay.
The listening experience improves quite a bit after a few drinks, when
you’ve got the mindset and the inclination to believe that everything is
going to turn out fine after all- or that it already has. Perhaps
that’s the best occasion of all for Love This Life’s “A song for all occasions.”
Life - A Song For All Occasions
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