Through a weird circumstance, York, Pennsylvania
alt-rock group Live is suddenly in the public eye in a way that they have
not been since their mid-90s heyday. At the time they were riding high
with their 1994 breakout smash Throwing Copper, which spawned four hit singles
the Drama," "I Alone," "All Over You" and "Lightning Crashes."
it up with the oddly pretentious disaster Secret Samadhi, an album which
did okay at the time but eventually kind of wrecked their momentum.
The band has tried to capture our attention ever since, releasing some good
albums (the 2001 disk V was particularly strong) but continuing to fade
from the public consciousness.
The 1,000 pound Gorilla which finally got Live back on
the country's mind over a decade after their brief superstardom was
American Idol, of all things. On the show, popular rocker
Chris Daughtry acknowledged that Live was his favorite band and did a
carbon-copy version of their Johnny Cash cover "I Walk the Line." Then
the band was invited to preview their new song "Mystery" as a duet with
Daughtry on the 2006 finale show.
The table is set for the band to make a return as they
release their first album on a new label in the wake of this unexpected
publicity windfall. Songs from Black Mountain has a better
chance of getting heard than any Live album in years. So is it up to
the task of revitalizing the band's fanbase or will it just follow their
last few albums down the black hole?
In fairness, Songs from Black Mountain should
do the trick. It's not as good as Throwing Copper, but a
spike in sales would be deserved. Songs from Black Mountain
reminds us why we fell for Live in the first place – from the
acoustic rock of "The River" to the slightly pompous but undeniably cool
progressive punk of "Mystery." (Love the string section!) "Get
Ready" is an atmospheric ballad in the "Lightning Crashes" vein.
"Sofia" is a sweet rocking love jam.
We have waited quite a while to get a Live album this
good – hopefully the world will catch on.