Personnel: Ryan Fox (vocals, guitar, keyboards, electronic percussion); Tim Kasher (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (vocals, keyboards); Roger L. Lewis (drums, percussion, electronic percussion).
Audio Mixer: John Congleton.
Recording information: ARC Studios, Omaha, NE (01/2015).
After an extended break that included solo releases and Cursive albums from bandleader Tim Kasher, as well as projects from other members of the indie rock quartet, the full membership of the Good Life reconvened in 2014 to join Kasher in the songwriting process and create what is the band's first true team effort in every sense, with all songwriting credited to the band. Yet again different from previous manifestations, the result is the mercurial but more alt-rock-defined Everybody's Coming Down, their first album after the more singer/songwriter-leaning Help Wanted Nights eight years prior. Anyone who didn't care for the '90s should brace themselves; with rawk guitar leading a unified front, "Everybody" could be a lost track from Weezer's Blue Album and "Forever Coming Down" borders on math rock, while "Ad Nausea," with its rotating rhythms and meters, most certainly is. More meditative moments include "The Troubadour's Green Room," a self-reflexive serenade with strolling guitar and bass, and "Diving Bell," which offers a dreamy reprieve with bassist Stefanie Drootin-Senseney sharing vocals. Slow, shimmering, and funky, it passes through sections of bubbly, distorted vocals and double-time blocks of heavy fuzz for the trippiest and most enthralling moment of the album. Back down to earth is "How Small We Are," an existential ballad with musical and lyrical angst ("I can't imagine how small we are/It's got me feeling as light as air...Gotta lot of responsibility for something so small"), and the song(s) that bookends the track list, a mellow, vocal-led saunter. Everybody's Coming Down is ultimately engaging if meandering, and at its heart -- whatever the style -- is memorable, energized songwriting. ~ Marcy Donelson