Future Lives – ‘This Is Living’

By Kathryn Black

Ross Smithwick of Lonely The Brave is heading out on his own, and his step away from his bandmates has paid off with debut release ‘This Is Living’. While it seems too predictable to compare his solo efforts under moniker Future Lives to his previous work with his fellow Cambridge brooders, ‘This Is Living’ sounds quite familiar and the similarities in style are definitely there. The EP begins with its best (title) track as guitar notes are left to linger, and pushed high vocals make way for a soaring chorus among the clean hooks.

‘Ex Marks’ however is a different beast, reminiscent of Biffy Clyro’s unapologetic but accessible style. Smithwick’s vocals suit this racing upbeat melody, sounding simple but dominating as the track charges along. It feels short and snappy, although average in length, and the guitar solo towards the end seizes attention from the choppy, layered vocals.

Slowing things down, ‘How It Ends’ comes to a sudden finish following its gradually growing emotion. Another differing sound, ‘Picture Perfect’s arena-filling guitars contrast with understated vocals and steady drumming. The song has an older feel to it; simple in structure, it’s subdued but unquestionably rock.

Trying out the solo stuff might pay off for Smithwick as there’s something there that he doesn’t get a chance to show off when playing guitar in a crowded and usually quite reserved band. It may not be groundbreaking, but the variety of influences has amalgamated to create a distinct style of his own that is satisfying enough. Give these four tracks a blast: Smithwick’s been hiding a spark in there somewhere, maybe now’s the time to set it alight.

KATHRYN BLACK

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