It's tough to go epic on a shoestring, but that didn't deter drama-rockers This Life Electric from making the leap on the locals' swan song. No Black or White is noticeably thin sounding, which detracts from the music's attempted grandiosity. However, it also tamps down on the maudlin falsetto soul tangent that besmirched the quintet's earlier work, an unquestionable plus. The album's key characteristic is a surfeit of unabashedly bold statements that strain for universality. Although the band never really gets over in this regard, it's intermittently interesting to hear them try. Standout opener "This Moment" clicks right out of the gate with a top-down, hair-fluttering sense of possibility. Guitarist/vocalist Jim Felkner pours on the pathos with "Into the Fire," romantically tortured arena-rock bluster rendered at nightclub scale. Unfortunately, the weight of TLE's lofty intentions steamrolls nearly everything about them that might have been singular or compelling.
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