Reanimated from remnants of The Blood Brothers’ still-warm corpse, Past Lives prime themselves for a quick scramble to the top of the post-hardcore heap. They join Jaguar Love on a growing list of promising up-and-comers cut from the same influential rhizome, both alumni of the now defunct Seattle screamers. While their debut EP Strange Symmetry seems destined to invite its fair share of non-descriptors (“angular” and the like), they more than likely will barely scratch the surface of what this progressively minded band has up for offer.
Guitarists Devin Welch and Morgan Henderson parade a caustic currency of rampant arpeggios, shrewdly dissolved through Jordan Blilie’s shrill-throated androgyny. Drummer Mark Gajadhar flails flagrant and fluidly, finding the absence of a bass player irrelevant, and to the casual listener, probably unnoticed. In five songs and 15 minutes, Strange Symmetry traverses perilous crescendos, screamed in desperate pleas against the oncoming estrangement of the modern age.
“Beyond Gone” displaces its dissonant guitar intro with a commanding tom-tapped architecture, dispelling Blilie’s paranoia with foreboding familiarity. Meanwhile “Reverse The Curse” and the title track tramp mercilessly to the beating of Gajadhar’s relentless percussion, ratcheting the band ever forward into finely spun webs of squiggling guitar outbursts.
Much of Symmetry dwells dauntingly on alienation, skewed perceptions of reality and death’s inevitable arrival at the doorstep of the most devout among us. Even for all the angst, Blilie manages to sell it for no other reason than he screams it like he means it, devoid of otherwise distracting sentimentality. Perhaps it’s fitting then that closer “Chrome Life” ends with a somber realization of continued futility to fight what we can never truly prevent: “It’s alright/ It’s just life/ It’s only life.” Paste that to your ripped jean jacket.