No strangers to putting out big hits, Lifehouse continues a steady climb that started over ten years ago with their new album and the single, “Halfway Gone.” In 2000, debut album No Name Face featured a little song called “Hanging By a Moment,” which helped them first catch the world’s attention and was the most listened to song of 2001. In the three albums since then, Lifehouse has had pretty decent success with hits like “Spin,” “You and Me,” and most recently, “Broken,” but I believe Smoke and Mirrors will be the album to bring them back into the public’s eye more than ever before.
Lead singer, Jason Wade has always been the most integral part in the success of his band, and his songwriting and passion for music has kept them going strong since the early days. The son of two missionaries, the former worship leader of Vineyard Church in Malibu, first started the band Blyss back in 1996. With the success of “Hanging By A Moment,” Lifehouse was given new birth and a huge career to follow.
The newest album, is the band’s most accessible release to date. Struggling to regain the success of their first album, Smoke and Mirrors finally shows Wade and Co. accepting who they are and having a great time with it. The title refers to the two sides to the album which include the more radio-friendly side, as well as the harder rocking live band they have always been. The CD seesaws with ease between the two, creating such a solid effort, and even allows some exploration into new territory.
The title track channels old-school Tom Petty in his “Running Down a Dream” phase, and it’s pulled off quite well. Songs like “Nerve Damage” start off well polished and pretty, but soon switch pace to crunching guitars and staccato beats on the chorus. The CD finds a happy medium between the all out rock of 2003’s Stanley Climfall, and mellow groove of the 2005’s self-titled album.
Wade enlists the help of several very surprising acts on his latest. Singer/Producer, Kevin Rudolf helped create the huge first single “Halfway Gone,” as well as love song, “Falling In.” If you are listening to the CD and hear another familiar voice, don’t be surprised to find out American Idol success, Chris Daughtry lent songwriting credits and background vocals to the sure-to-be-a-hit, “Had Enough.” A friendship that began on the road touring, turns into a great song about letting go and moving on.
Be sure to pick up the deluxe edition of this CD so you don’t miss out on four bonus tracks that really round out the album. Included is the song, “Near Life Experience,” which features Wade doing his best Bob Dylan impression and lyrics like “Make this go away, I’m begging please. There’s little life left here for me to bleed. Is this where I end, or is this where we begin?” Also making an appearance is a live in studio version of one of their most powerful songs they’ve ever recorded, “Everything,” from their first album. I love the song’s honesty and am glad they rerecorded it as an ode to where and why they first got started.
Try This Track: “It Is What It Is”