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Album Cover Live - The Distance to Here (Radioactive)

Remember Live? They released their debut "Mental Jewelry" in 1991. It didn't sell a lot of copies. In 1994 they released "Throwing Copper" which shifted 15 million units and established Live as one of the most important, not to mention political acts of the decade. Most peeps from this side of the water heard of them through heavy playings of 'Selling The Drama' and 'I Alone' on MTV, for which they performed a crackingly good unplugged session. Their cover of Vic Chestnut's 'Supernatural' would bring tears to the eyes of a hardened hitman. Almost 6 years ago, the future was looking very bright
However, the (difficult) follow-up "Secret Samadhi" did not capture the public imagination to any great extent. The one single (I) heard from it was saccharine and rather AOR. Live have always been about indie rock often bordering on punk, with angry, but intelligent lyrics. For a start their fourth album, 'The Distance To Here' looks unrecognisable with all its Indian imagery and someone who didn't know any better could think it was actually Kula Shaker - god forbid. And the tunes? Well Live sound like they always did, but this whole thing feels lacklustre and tired, not to mention overlong. What's become of the days of such lines as "Look where all this talking's got us baby" ('White discussion') and Kowalczyk demanding to be given "some change, some fucking change" ('Waitress')?
Here we've got song titles such as 'Run to the Water', 'They Stood Up For Love' and 'The Dolphin's Cry'. The music is still loud, but Live's gift of being able to write songs that grabbed you by the balls on the first listen seems to be gone. Which is a shame for those of us who once adored them. Many of the songs aren't bad though; 'We Walk in The Dream' and 'The Distance' are vaguely reminiscent of their more inspired days, while moments such as 'The Dolphin's Cry' show that their politics are now more concentrated in nature than on the streets. "The Distance To Here" is by no means unlistenable, but there isn't any danger of your pulse rate reaching a fatal level.
It's Live Jim, but not as we know it.

by Anne-Louise Foley.