Sound — 9
"If You Could Only Keep Me Alive" is a re-issue of the band's incredibly rare, highly sought after dbut EP "There's No Such Thing as Science"; an EP released to be sold at early gigs and to be sent out to labels. Containing 4 songs from the original: "The Permanent Rain," "Here We Are After Dark," "Of Confidence" and "Home," a renamed version of "Presque Vu," the original instrumental introduction of "One Year at the Peak of Summer." It also contains 3 new songs: the beautifully heartfelt "I Would Stay," "Wake Up" and "Disconnect" feat. Alex Gaskarth of fellow Maryland rock band All Time Low. The mini-album opens with "I Would Stay." As I already stated, this song is a remarkable song, dripping with emotion and setting the tone of the HUGE sound of this album. Followed by "The Permanent Rain," a song that is now, possibly, the fan's favourite for this band, things get bigger, with the U2-esque guitar riff kicking into a near frantic, but always subtly controlled song. "Here We Are After Dark" is another emotive song but probably the most energetic on the record. Following are the two good, but not overall remarkable songs, "Wake Up" and "Home," which feel as though they are based on a formula set forth in the earlier songs. Closing with "Disconnect" and "Of Confidence" we see the band's best hand being played. "Disconnect" lacks a little bit in the emotion of the previous songs, but compensates in being a generally great rock song, where as "Of Confidence" just oozes heart, vocalist AJ Perdomo giving it his all.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically this release is masterful. It may, at times, be a bit clichd, but it is poetic and questions convention, in "I Would Stay" Perdomo mocks that "Hold me down to/writing letters/like the songs said/was so much better." "The Permanent Rain" is probably the best in terms of vocals on the album, detailing the loss of someone incredibly close and the desire to make them proud. "Of Confidence" also excels, a song that is presented in more of a story telling way, but also shows some more bite in Perdomo's voice than the rest of the songs, befitting it's more desperate nature.
Overall Impression — 10
This is my favourite release ever. It is an EP that bores deep into the soul and only gets better with time. Songs like "Wake Up" and "Home" may not leave as lasting and impression as they could, but that is partly due to the rest of the set presented here. On the whole, this is an outstanding release. "The Permanent Rain" is possibly one of the most underrated songs around, "I Would Stay" even more so. This can be enjoyed by anyone at any time, but, if you are currently at a bad time in life, I would highly recommend this. I found it when I needed it most and every song has deep meaning to me. An excellent EP, buy it if you can. Nothing, in my opinion, can compare to it. It may not be the work of art that is "Led Zeppelin IV" or "The White Album," but as far as heartfelt modern rock/indie goes, this is THE release.