Sung in a strong native regional UK accent, Life is an introspective and soul-searching tune that starts off with tinkling arpeggios and strings as a backdrop.
It has a certain 90s baggy feel to its beat, and the vocalist has a nice, tight control on his delivery: notes are pinched off in a satisfying way, with confidence and aplomb. In fact, in terms of timbre and purity, when Life’s energy steps up, he sounds a bit like Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco).
The vocal melody in the chorus is really strong, running through some inspirational/aspirational statements like: ‘The trick to give your life meaning / Is to challenge yourself more’. It hits a quite discordant note at one point that it keeps hitting, creating an ear worm that really drills into your brain. Cleverly, it later continues to stick to that same melody while new chords come in underneath it – creating development and re-emphasizing the hook even further.
Guitar work is great throughout – slabs of effected guitar form pads of moody introspection over the quieter early and mid sections of the song, while other guitar voices of reverb-drenched fuzz and wah-wah are mixed high and proud and hard left and hard right and help promote interest and energy. There’s solid playing throughout, never more so than the rip-roaring Hammond manipulation towards the end of the track.
The Assist have made Life to raise money for the UK’s NHS charities in these trying times, and it’s an accomplished, well-mixed and well-meaning tune with great dynamics and a lot to express over its 5 and a half minute duration. Check it out, and donate!