I remember when Live came out back when I was in middle school. The band was surrounded by the grunge scene and stood out to me because their sound defied the norm at the time. As the years went by I listened to them less and less, but of course still came across some of their big hits that rocked the airwaves still. Then suddenly they were out of sight out of mind.
When I received The Flood and the Mercy in my workload I stared at the name, Ed Kowalczyk and wondered where I knew that name from. Without a computer nearby to check for an easy answer I simply threw the CD in my car stereo and began to listen as I commuted to wherever I was going.
By track four I was pretty sure Ed Kowalczyk was the lead singer of Live. The thing that was throwing me off was track 2, Seven, which has a country feel to it. In any case, after I had uncovered the mystery, I was well into the album, loving every second of it.
Kowalczyk’s voice is powerful, tame when it needs to be, passionate and with lyrics found on this album, you can’t help but get drawn into the moments as Kowalczyk voice is matched with beautiful orchestrations, the guitar work of Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and the soothing voice of Rachel Yamagata.
Kowalczyk tackles spirituality, more down to Earth themes like people looking out only for themselves, and boastful tunes that make Kowalczyk sound bigger then life. Sure, at times, and mostly due to the singer, the album does sound a bit like live, but it’s still amazing all the same. Well worth checking out. Kowalczyk hasn’t lost any of that flare he had with his old band. Good stuff.