Before listening to this album, a friend texted me his disgust at the direction of If I’m The Devil… so my interest was pricked enough to warrant digging into this recording to see what had upset him so much. What I found was very much far removed from what I would deem as “offensive”. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that, having struggled to really pick a contender for album of the year so far, things are going to have to go some to overtake the hearfelt musings of Jason Butler.

Opener “I’ve Learned To Love Myself” sees Butler in crushingly honest form, pouring his soul into the first five minutes of this album. As early as the first track, it’s hard to see how much more Butler can physically and emotional give but, as the rest of If I’m The Devil… shows, “I’ve Learned To Love Myself” is just the start of this emotional rollercoaster journey that Butler and the rest of letlive. are taking the listener on.

From the snyth-goth-pop of “Nu Romantics” to the soaring “Who You Are Not” to the grinding swagger of “A Weak Ago” to describe If I’m The Devil… as classy would be merely scratching the surface of how utterly fucking cool this record is. For all the swagger and cockiness the band display throughout this release, the more serene “Foreign Cab Rides” sees them showcase a calmer style that, in all honesty, wouldn’t look out of place among some of Faith No More’s more chilled moments. However, just when you think you’ve got a handle on what this album is about, Butler and Co. throw in the massive-sounding pop rock of “Reluctantly Dead” and you’re back at square one.

So full of surprises, every twist and turn on this record brings something new. There’s been calm numbers, there’s been poppy songs but if, like me, you were expecting shit-kicking hardcore rock, you’ll have to wait till the back end of the album when the band unleash “Elephant” and “Another Offensive Song”, upping the tempo. With Butler screaming his way through the latter track, letlive. show how, underneath the slick, polished pop-hooks and emotional heartwrecking lyrics, the beating heart of a punk rock band is still there.

An utterly incredible record from start to finish.

If I’m The Devil… Track Listing:

01. I’ve Learned To Love Myself
02. Nü Romantics
03. Good Mourning, America
04. Who You Are Not
05. A Weak Ago
06. Foreign Cab Rides
07. Reluctantly Dead
08. Elephant
09. Another Offensive Song
10. If I’m The Devil…
11. Copper Colored Quiet

Run Time: 44:42
Release Date: June 10, 2016

Check out the track “Reluctantly Dead”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.