Sound — 8
Lifehouse returned with their self-titled third album and it's not the same Lifehouse that we used to know. Since their last release "Stanley Climbfall" this LA based trio underwent considerable changes. The most notable one is the result of collaboration with new producer John Alagia (John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Jason Mraz) which is allowed them to left behind the comparisons with Creed, Live and Stone Tmple Pilots music -- a credit of band's early Brendan O'Brien productions. On this album Lifehouse perform sufficiently tuneful, smooth and mainly mid-tempo acoustic music with occasionally encountered distorted guitar riffs -- being a rock band, Lifehouse don't "rock" on this album. Though the lack of drive and harshness is kinda compensated with perfectly balanced, professional arrangements of catchy melodies, lush harmonies and flacky strings. The thing that's still invariable is the same prepotency of minor notes and post-grunge moods on "Lifehouse" -- same as on all previous works. I would say that in general their musical stylistics is still the same and the only difference concludes in instrumental arrangements. Formerly the band reproduced wistful and melancholy spirit through more or less harder sounding, but now they do it in more mellow and laid-back key, and on each song it's performed differently. If on tracks "You And Me," "All And All," "Into The Sun," "Walking Away" and "Chapter One" all those feelings are realized thru slow acoustic ballads, on "Blind," "Better Luck Next Time" and "Days Go By" music is decorated with more expressive guitars, drum beats and vocal parts -- it's a some kind of bridge between Lifehouse of past and present.
Lyrics — 10
While music changes are evident, I hardly can say the same about lyrics. Lifehouse, in person of singer-songwriter Jason Wade, distinguish themselves with meaningful, candid and moody at times lyrics -- and this album is not the exception. As usually, Wade paid a biggest part of his attention to songwriting process -- "I love writing. It's my favorite part of all this," he says. And it seems to be truth, because with every following release Wade's lyrics become more serious and meaningful -- "Lifehouse" is lyrically the best Wade's project to date. As to his singing abilities, they are still flawless. Jason Wade has very impressive voice with a huge amount of inflexions -- and he shows them all here.
Overall Impression — 8
All in all, with their self-titled record Lifehouse have chosen quieter and mellow road. Time will show whether it was a good undertaking or not, anyway it's a worthy listening for diehard fans of early Lifehouse -- they would appreciate band's new face -- as well as for newcomers -- it's still good and unique music. Being almost acoustic, this album proves to be quite easy listening even with all its post-grunge hooks and melancholic moods. There are no tracks on "Lifehouse" that could be emphasized -- all of them have a specific way to demonstrate what Lifehouse is as a band and what they want to show off. Probably the only its disadvantage is that Lifehouse by loosing their well-known post sounding didn't find their music niche yet, but I suppose that it's just a matter of time -- the guys need a time to get an idea of what to do with new sound and producer, haha.