When I received the promo for Born To Be Mild the first thing that struck me was the artwork. It matched with the (previously discussed) EP, but not at all with their previous, debut album, Access All Areas. What I like about the artwork of Access All Areas is the dreamy, relaxed atmosphere that oozes from the picture. The artwork of Born To Be Mild has a different vibe. I wondered if that would mean anything for the music presented to the world on this new album.
Before we go into that, let’s properly introduce the band. ESC Life is a Croatian four-piece with one album and one split under their belts. All members brought experience from previous bands to the table, but these are all bands you probably don’t know. Music-wise they are heavily influenced by Hüsker Dü. On the recent split, I detected some Thin Lizzy influences seeping through in the guitar work. A development I thoroughly enjoyed.
On Born To Be Mild that development is continued. ESC Life did not change too much in their formula. You’ll find a couple of the best Hüsker Dü songs Husker Dü never wrote. And, good for me, a couple of songs that add that sweet Thin Lizzy touch. “Fill The Void With Nothing” is a song from the split that was re-recorded and included on this album. I am not sure whether I like that. First of all, I really enjoyed their first take on the song. It hasn’t changed too much in this version, so why include it? At the same time, it is really a gem, so I can imagine the band wants more people to enjoy it.
What I really enjoy about this album (and their previous output) is how these guys have mastered the art of sounding completely relaxed and energetic at the same time. That combination for me makes it the ideal music for good weather. It allows me to relax without lulling me to sleep. A difficult combination to create, but ESC Life makes it happen on each and every song.
Not only on the song-writing department did ESC Life keep its course, production wise they choose for the same producer and the same sound. A wise decision as it works wonders for them. The production is crystal clear and allows every instrument to shine; just what this type of music needs.
When I reviewed the split EP two years ago I concluded that ESC Life had left me hungry for more. They have kept me waiting, but I can only conclude it was worth it. Born To Be Mild rocks hard!
9.0 / 10
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