Initially released in late 2008 on Pink Razors' Houseplant Records, this CD re-release of the band's second full-length record is a highly recommended slab of Dillinger Four-style pop punk. While past releases tended to veer towards ultra-fast Descendents worship, Leave Alive is a collection of solidly mid-tempo material, aligning the band more with genre contemporaries like the Ergs! and Good Luck than any defunct SST acts. All things being equal, the biggest change in the band's sound comes courtesy of new guitarist/vocalist Erin Tobey, whose strong, feminine vocals add a new dimension to the band's sound, especially when paired with original guitarist/vocalist Jeff Grant. Recognizing that their songs sound best sung as a group, it's rare to hear only Grant or Tobey at any point on Leave Alive. Whether harmonizing or singing in unison, their voices form a powerful, driving force that keeps longer songs (as in, slightly longer than three minutes) like "Spaceheater" and "Geometirc Park" barrelling forward. There's still some classic Pink Razors speed on tracks like "Too Obvious" but the band mostly keep things in a very catchy third gear, crafting songs that are all the better for it.
What made you guys want to write slower song?
Guitarist/vocalist Jeff Grant: We were playing live and realizing that every song was lightning fast. At some point, I decided to slow it down just to mix up the set a little. And that's what this record is. Having Erin in the band also made us feel like we had the freedom to make those changes, because there was new input coming in. It was a conscious decision, but it evolved naturally.
You and Erin have moved out of Richmond, where the band formed. Was this record made before or after that?
It was done when we all still lived in Richmond, but I think we had the sense that we were all about to take off to different parts of the country. I think, lyrically, that's reflected on the record. Richmond was a huge part of my identity. I had been there for 16 years.
Does it make it more of an event when you're all able to get together?
Oh yeah. We don't take it for granted when we're able to get together and play. Our drummer, Adam [Monroe], works for the National Park Service and bounces around out west. It's a shame, because we're all really close. We can't replace anyone. This is the line-up, regardless of where we live. (No Idea)