The four guys in the punk-leaning foursome New Lives have played with each other in a handful of locals bands (Bestfriends, Icon & Anchor, Scouts Honour) but formed this group, in part, to channel the discordant, forward-thinking music of their youth. A few ‘90s underground stalwarts are name-checked in the band’s bio, and the weight of influence is initially hard to cast off — Fugazi comes through most prominently, with traces of Hum and Seaweed right behind. These songs have the economy of punk but find space to modulate and shift in a relatively short space. The quartet can hammer out its crunchy, ragged riffs with punishing force, but it has the good sense to temper these moments with on-a-dime stops, grimy textures and emotive vocals.
As befits an EP whose physical incarnation is on cassette tape, many of these five songs run into each other — the brief come-down squall lingers for a time and flips back into the next song’s count-off. It’s a compelling bit of thread to connect these five tracks, though at fifteen brief minutes, In Passing struggles to distinguish song from song. That’s not a huge problem, as each track finds ways to teeter between attack and release.
Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.