Let me set up this review with a little about how I got introduced to this record. Mainstream label, DreamWorks Records (home of artists like the putrid Papa Roach) contacted us to supply us with the fresh rock sounds of the new Creed-like group from Los Angeles called Lifehouse. The lead singer, 20-year-old Jason Wade originally formed the band BLYSS in 1996 and has undergone peronnel changes since then to formulate what is now known as Lifehouse. With a pop/rock/alternative feel, Jason's mature, deep, rich vocals carry along some pretty good tunes. Only one problem surfaces, however. Repetitiveness.
The song "Hanging By a Moment," a song clearly a cry out to God, yet never clearly specified, opens the melodic record. Things step down a notch for "Sick Cycle Carousel," a song about the preverbial merry go round we feel like we're on when we keep committing the same sins over and over. "Unknown" picks up with more powerful electric-driven riffs for a song about faith. "Somebody Else's Song" begins almost identically like a Sixpence None the Richer tune before switching to a pop rock song about songs that tend to put foreign thoughts in your head that you don't want. "Trying" and "Only One" slow the record down a bit for some melodic rock ballads. "Simon" displays Wade's vocals versatility most set to a quiet musical backdrop. "Cling and Clatter" resumes the catchy rock, yet tends to find itself getting a little monotonous at times. This holds true for "Breathing" as well. By the time "Breathing" rolls around, you realize the songs haven't varied by sound and feel very much. Regretfully, the hardest Lifehouse rocks on the album is with "Quasimodo," which ups the electrics but not to the extent one might want to hear the band rock. But the best is yet to come on the album, proven by the album closer, "Everything," a could-be worship song. And what makes so many people wonder where the hearts of the members of Lifehouse lie spiritually, validated by the positive lyrics that lean towards spiritual content. And why is it that lead singer, Jason Wade dances around the answer whenever asked the meaning of some of his songs' lyrics? Regardless of the spiritual origin of the band and its songs, they have put together a worthy, positive, and rather lyrically benign rock album.
I found No Name Face to be a good debut album but it could have been a little more diverse. Some good strong cuts, No Name Face is a good mainstream album to check out from a band who seems to have a lot to offer which we're bound to see in the near future.- Review date: 12/3/00, written by John DiBiase
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