Feature: LIFE’s Intimate, Expansive, & Brooding ‘North East Coastal Town’ Is a Post-Punk Love Letter Home

LIFE © Luke Hallett
LIFE © Luke Hallett
English band LIFE open up about their fiercely churning third album ‘North East Coastal Town,’ an intimate and heated love letter to their hometown of Hull channeling raw humanity through impassioned, feverish post-punk charm.
for fans of Fontaines D.C., IDLES, Johnny Hunter, MOTORCADE
Stream: “The Drug” – LIFE

We’ve always been anchored by our hometown, and thus ‘North East Coastal Town’ is our love letter to Hull. We’ve calved up a brooding body of work that champions the sense of belonging and love.

Home can mean a lot of different things depending on who you talk to, but your hometown is a different story: No matter how you feel about the location, the people, or the culture you grew up around, your hometown indelibly defines the person you become. Your hometown is your basis: The blueprint for your identity, the setting for so many of your most defining moments and memories. Some of us may rebel against it, while others lean in and embrace it; wherever and however you fall, there’s no denying the importance of one’s hometown as a bedrock and a foundation for all that comes later on.

For the four members of English band LIFE (intensely stylized in all capital letters – because what’s more intense than LIFE itself?!), their hometown of Hull – a small port city of about 300,000 located in East Yorkshire – defines not only who they are as individual people, but also what they are as a group: You can see it in their lyrics, you can feel it in their style, and you can hear it in their raw post-punk sound. Hull has undeniably run through their veins for the past near-decade that they’ve been together, but never before has it been so obvious or as well-documented as it is now, with their third studio album inspired by and dedicated to the city itself: LIFE channel raw humanity through impassioned, feverish post-punk charm on North East Coastal Town, an intimate and heated love letter to their hometown that wears its heart on its sleeve.

North East Coastal Town - LIFE
North East Coastal Town – LIFE
My head was stained like a bus station loo
But then I came and I fell for you
My bed was silent like an empty tune
But then I came and I fell for you
My mind was dining at the first light
But then I came and I fell for you
My life was twisted, blooded and gone
But then I came and I fell for you
I’m free, free of all the pain
I’m free, free of all the pain
– “The Drug,” LIFE

Released August 19, 2022 via The Liquid Label, North East Coastal Town is a resounding homage to the city of Hull and its folk: A collection of surging sonics and stirring stories, rooted in LIFE’s past and present, that express their love for the place they call home. Heck, even one of the album’s B-sides, that didn’t make the album but is available on DSPs, is entitled “Hull Sky.”

And the best part is, you don’t have to come from Hull (or even know much about it) in order to appreciate the people, places, and spaces captured in this record. LIFE’s themes, while deeply personal to them, are ubiquitous and universal – relatable to all who listen: Their songs cover everything from human connection, desire, and belonging, to outer chaos, inner discord, and so much more. By extension, North East Coastal Town is a churning soundtrack to reflection and reckoning, identity and experience.

LIFE are Mez Green, Mick Sanders, Lydia Palmeira, and Stewart Baxter © Luke Hallett
LIFE are Mez Green, Mick Sanders, Lydia Palmeira, and Stewart Baxter © Luke Hallett

I lie awake at night
and angst about my phone tariff
I think about Lorraine
the lady on phone
Do you feel your package suits you?
I don’t feel anything at all
I slept in late today
and yes I slept in yesterday
I think I’m spending far too much
on fairly average takeaways
Do you feel you’ve got a problem?
I don’t feel anything at all
Don’t go to Big Moon Lake they said
It’ll only blow your mind
Come to the Yorkshire Dales instead
you know it’s half the price
I’m freaking out
– “Big Moon Lake,” LIFE

It’s also LIFE at their very best. Comprised of vocalist and frontman Mez Green, bassist Lydia Palmeira, guitarist Mick Sanders, and drummer Stew Baxter, the Hull four-piece have already made quite a name for themselves in their hometown. The band formed nearly a decade ago, and have created considerable local and national buzz with their first two albums, 2017’s Popular Music and 2019’s A Picture of Good Health, the latter of which was dubbed “the most incendiary statement that LIFE have made to date, [with] a furious post-punk framework throughout,” by DIY‘s Joe Goggins, who further noted that “Mez sounds every inch the modern day firebrand.”

Just like their namesake (we hope!), LIFE just keeps getting better with age, and their ever-expanding fanbase would seem to agree: This unfiltered musical snapshot of the band’s artistry, history, and humanity has also proved to be their most commercially successful effort yet. But LIFE don’t see “success” when they think of this album; rather, they see their home brought to life in song.

LIFE © Luke Hallett
LIFE © Luke Hallett

“Our vision was to be brave and be true to ourselves as a group of best mates who wanted to push their creativity. I guess that was our only guiding point throughout; the rest just flowed out of us,” LIFE’s Mez Green tells Atwood Magazine.

“The album is a love letter to the area and community we are from,” he explains. “Hull and the surrounding area runs through our DNA and has shaped us, weathered us, empowered us, embraced us and made us feel accepted… The whole piece of work is an ode to kinship and relationship. It is a reflective body of work dedicated to people and place and those that have always been there and made us feel like we belong, thus it was inevitable for us that we needed the title to reflect this sentiment furthermore upon writing and recording this album it was important to us that this sense of belonging was also reflected in the album’s craft, and so we used locally based studios, equipment and gear! ‘North East Coastal Town’ was also the code name given to the Hull area during WW2. The government referred to the bombing of the area with the words, ‘North East Coastal Town.'”

The album is an ode to kinship and relationship, with its musical and lyrical spine picking out themes of love, desire, beauty, horror, chaos, pride and most importantly the sense of belonging.

LIFE © Luke Hallett
LIFE © Luke Hallett

LIFE’s third LP is unapologetic, uncompromising, and achingly, viscerally honest.

“As a band we are all proud of the tracks that make up the backbone of the North East Coastal Town,” Green says. “Songs such as ‘Friends Without Names,’ ‘Duck Egg Blue,’ ‘Shipping Forecast,’ and ‘All Your Are’ highlight what we wanted to prioritise and voice when creating this body of work.”

“There are [also] plenty of lyrical highlights for myself and my brother Mick (guitar),” he adds. “We co-write the lyrics, and I think I would be right in saying the poetic nature of ‘Friends Without Names’ and ‘Duck Egg Blue’ would be the winners for us both. Please stick your headphones in and seek these tracks out; I hope the lyrics heighten the musical experience.”

An empty pocket, full of lust
A horse-head lighter, full of dust
Against my lips, as I spit
‘I really miss ya,’ ‘I really miss ya’
Catch my breath, let it go
Flip my ego, let it grow
Bite my lip, as I spit
‘I really miss ya’
Friends without names…
They’re all the same to me
Hope goes up, hope falls down
Burn like fire, this mute town
Bite my lip, as I spit
‘I really miss ya,’ ‘I really miss ya’
See my face, a fake embrace
That dull taste, of this place
I bite my lip, as I spit
‘I really miss ya’
– “Friends Without Names,” LIFE

LIFE’s most popular song on streaming platforms, “Friends Without Names” makes for a powerful album opener with its surging beat, compelling lyrics, and vocal strut, and yet it’s just one of several highlights found on North East Coastal Town.

The caustic, soaring high energies of “Big Moon Lake,” “Poison,” and “Self Portrait” prove as invigorating as they are cathartic; album single “The Drug” is a bouncy, bustling emotional outpouring with a catchy, instantly memorable chorus; and the softer, downtempo tracks “Duck Egg Blue” and “All You Are” offer a kind of tender, textured caress, executed with the kind of nuance and gentleness we don’t often see in the post-punk genre. Green candidly calls this album “intimate, expansive, and brooding,” and those three words certainly hold true across its eleven tracks.

That’s not duck egg blue
I’m splitting egg shells with you
What’s the matter
Why do you feel this way
Keep the peace, stay quiet
Fall into pieces at night
What’s the matter
Come here and fold into me
Man, I’m shattered
And I can barely breathe
That’s not what I mean
Meanings get slipped in-between
What’s the matter
Why do you feel this way
Man, I’m shattered
And I’ve got nothing else to say
I’ll hold you
I’ll hold you ’til it’s light
I love you
I’ve loved you all this time
– “Duck Egg Blue,” LIFE

LIFE © Luke Hallett
LIFE © Luke Hallett

From end to end, North East Coastal Town is passionate, dramatic, dynamic, and absolutely exhilarating.

It’s LIFE singing about, well, life!

“We hope listeners get an instant hit of honesty, pride, love and authenticity, because that’s what we really wanted to do with this record,” Green shares. “North East Coastal Town is anchored by the city of Hull. Hull’s geography, history, and community has always inspired our creativity. The city runs through our DNA and has shaped us, weathered us, empowered us, embraced us and made us feel accepted. We hope that this sense of kinship, love and community comes across.”

“The band has taken great encouragement from the album because it allowed us to be who we are as creatives and not worry about fitting in genres. We made an album that we wanted and that was true to ourselves. It’s given us a sense of creative belief and the desire to keep pushing our own barriers creatively. We can’t wait to start writing and will fully embrace our newfound process wholeheartedly.”

You don’t need to be a fan of fiery post-punk music or a native to North East England to get LIFE; their music is fun, fueling, and freeing for everyone. Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside LIFE’s North East Coastal Town with Atwood Magazine as Mez Green takes us through a selection of tracks off the band’s third album!

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:: stream/purchase North East Coastal Town here ::
Stream: ‘North East Coastal Town’ – LIFE

:: Inside North East Coastal Town ::

North East Coastal Town - LIFE

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Friends Without Names

Friends Without Names was a key blueprint track from the new record. In a remote part of Eastern England, close to the river Humber, we performed this track as if we were in trance; vibrating in a constant musical crescendo. Our aim, like a decent high, was to try and never come down whilst giving into the moments of beauty, horror, love and chaos depicted by the song’s lyrics.

Big Moon Lake

We wanted Big Moon Lake to acknowledge the lyrical social commentary that was littered throughout our first two records whilst expanding the experimental and personal sound that you will hear throughout the new record. The track is playful and teases everyday themes of missing out, numbness, drinking, smoking and eating badly and generally wanting more for yourself in life. Its resolve being that in hindsight everything is in front of you, it’s on your doorstep and in this case that’s the wondrous county of Yorkshire.

Almost Home

Almost Home barks, jolts, jerks and spits with the theme of pining to be home and thus chimes with North East Coastal Town’s over-riding sense of belonging. ‘Taste the difference…feel significant…hold a lifeline, you’re almost home!”  Almost Home is a song that wrestles with ego and love, with love winning; ”Recipe, I ain’t a cult recipe.”

Duck Egg Blue

Duck Egg Blue is a realist’s love song. The journey of trying to navigate through each other’s feelings and emotions, the strains of close quarters trapped in a tiny flat, the minutiae of everyday life. The overarching sentiment is that no matter what happens, after all that is said and done, we love each other, and we are there for each other.

Shipping Forecast

The ‘Shipping Forecast’ is a track that is awash with Hull’s nautical heritage. The music channels the power of the waves somewhere between Dogger and Humber. It’s an urgent and powerful track that grapples with the need to get home and pins themes of toxic social media and control to its mast. The track was one of the first to be written from North East Coastal Town and its energy and mood very much set the scene of our recording process.

The Drug

The Drug is a love song. I wrote the lyrics in the cold mountains of Italy before taking them into the room with the band. “The drug I needed has always been here, the drug I needed has always been near” is, for me, realising that loved ones and those that love you, no matter where you are, can always be present. I’d never really believed this before and whilst this purity is at the lyrical heart of the song musically the band decided to inject flecks of dance, pop, harmonics, and dirty pulses to give the song drive, repetition and jerk-ability.

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:: stream/purchase North East Coastal Town here ::

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North East Coastal Town - LIFE

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