After 3ish long years since they released Cross The Line, Playjerise have finally released their 2nd CD of acoustic brilliance – Better Life. They had their “lead single” and title track up on their Myspace for a while, and I had a listen to to it quite a bit. I did like it.

On Wednesday, being the first day of the month and with not much motivation to do much work that day, I headed down to Red Eye Records. I knew the album wasn’t due for release until Friday, but asked about the album nonetheless. She looked in the system and said she should have one in stock, looked through a few screens and then disappeared out the back. She came back with a smile on her face saying, “it just came in!” And I smiled too cos I realised I was about to get the album 2 days early – score!

Upon first listen to it, the first thing that’s noticed is that there’s far more “band” songs than there was on their debut. On Cross The Line, there was probably only one song that you’d call a band song. The rest were all very acoustic and voices only. Not even much bass. But at least half, if not more, of these new songs have drums and bass. Second thing I noticed is the mix in those band songs – the drums have been mixed in very quietly. I understand that they have probably deliberately done it that way in order to keep the focus on the acoustic guitars (their driving instruments and what their music is all about)… but it just comes across as a bit uncomfortable in some songs. The exception is the title track Better Life. It was mixed separately to all the others (presumably because they’re looking to get some air-time from it), and so it’s a bit more natural.

Debbie and I headed out to their album launch gig at The Vanguard in Newtown last night. We’ve seen them once before together, and then I’d seen them once before that on my own. But last night was a big step up for them – it was still very much them, but a much tighter and more relaxed gig. It felt like they were much more natural doing it. They had drums and bass for a handful of the songs, which was cool. But they still retained the majority of the gig as just the two of them playing most of the songs.

The harmonies are more amazing live than they are on the CD, and it’s one of the best things about their live gigs. The live mix last night was pretty tops too –  a good mix of both guitars, and the vocals mixed in perfectly as well. And when they finished off the set with the first two songs from the new album (both with band), they were loud, punchy and I very much enjoyed hearing them live.

I am really going to enjoy hearing their second album more and more, but will definitely always enjoy their first album for what it was. Better Life is a great example of a fantastic second album – the band stepping out and growing, but also remaining true to their sound that gave them so many fans.

Make sure you jump onto their myspace page and listen to Better Life.


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