After a two-year disappearance, Lifehouse have returned with their new album, Almeria. Released in December, Almeria doesn’t stray too far from the usual sound found on the band’s previous albums. More often than not, Lifehouse produces work that can be found on Songza’s “Pop Breakup” playlist. But with songs like “Barricade” and “Right Back Home” (which features the legendary Peter Frampton and Charles Jones), Almeria tackles several new genres. Country, rock, and soft pop are each a part of Almeria.
Some of Lifehouse’s earlier records (such as 2005’s Lifehouse and the 2007 follow-up, Who We Are) have followed the mellow pop sound. Aside from a few songs sprinkled in the mix that skidded off the pop tracks, Lifehouse has never successfully given their listeners a taste of anything new.
Although “Right Back Home” on Almeria is an attempt to give Lifehouse fans a taste of the country theme, the song doesn’t offer anything original. And besides the new sounds on a few tracks, Lifehouse slips right back into their old patterns with songs like “Only You’re the One” and “Aftermath”. Both take care of what Lifehouse knows best: a good breakup or relationship song. And even after 12 years, they never seem to think outside the box. Sticking to what you know is a good idea, but producing the same music for over a decade is redundant. They might as well just have made one massive album.
Smoke and Mirrors, Lifehouse’s 2010 album, had several tracks that catered more to the rock genre than it did to the band’s typical melancholy pop genre—specifically, “Here Tomorrow Gone Today” and “Nerve Damage”. But straying away from their typical soft pop genre just sounds out of place for this group. Even a song like “Between the Raindrops”, which features Natasha Bedingfield, is not enough to sweeten the sour sound of an all-too-familiar Lifehouse.
Even with a new album out every two years, Lifehouse has fallen victim to the “if it’s not on the radio, I’ve never heard of them” stereotype. Sadly, even hearing them on the radio nowadays is a shock. Although Almeria does dabble in genres outside of Lifehouse’s comfort zone, the album is, all in all, forgettable. There isn’t enough new material to keep the interest of new listeners, and even for the fans, the Lifehouse sound is slowly getting stale.