By Mark MacLeod

Live It Out is a self proclaimed “shitty Michigan pop punk” band based out of Roseville, Michigan. As a follow up to 2010’s Little Bear. Big Forest comes second EP, Illuminated, released April 17, 2012. A quick trip to the band’s Twitter reveals a string of shows and festivals they’ve played showing their growth in popularity. Don’t let the strange album cover of Illuminated scare you away, there is more to this band then you might think from first glance.

The EP starts off with a very upbeat track titled “Last Night.” The track starts with a very chipper guitar piece, and slowly but surely works back into that classic pop punk motif we all enjoy so much. Even though the track is just over two minutes long, it’s enough to make the listener think its your average joe basement pop punk band. The second track titled “The Coward,” begins to break the normal pop punk mold. About thirty seconds into the song you get the flair of a chunky breakdown, which shockingly moves into a higher pitched guitar interlude. The lyrics act as a staple for this part, keeping us all in check with their familiarity which allows for the listeners thoughts to drift into the experimental content of the other instruments.

Just when you get comfortable, the third song changes everything you thought you had figured out. “What Makes A Man” is short but sweet. It begins with a rising guitar melody, a sturdy bassline, and a thumping drum pattern, all in the style of classic punk. As the song progresses you get licks of genres from hardcore to melodic rock. If you thought the breakdown from “The Coward” was chunky, wait until you hear the breakdown in this song. It begins with a disturbing guitar and sturdy drum pattern. The breakdown then moved into guitar whales that made me want to swing my fists while stomping across my living room floor.

The album ends with a song called “Terrorizer.” Live It Out did a fantastic job of ending this EP with a punch. Their grand finale is a definite track to mosh to. Like the sound of bodies hitting the floor, the steady base pedal leads the remaining instruments into the abyss.

In its entirety Illuminated is an awesome EP. It holds true to traditional punk and hardcore roots, but with a twist. This EP as a whole might feel a little scattered to some listeners, however some will see it as a small plethora of songs. Newly signed to South Division Records, the band has plans release more music this winter. Live It Out currently has this EP available on Bandcamp which you can name your own price to purchase it.

Rating: 8/10
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Record Label: South Division Records
Recommended Tracks: “The Coward” “Terrorizer”
For Fans Of: New Found Glory, Sum 41, Such Gold, and We Are The Union
Purchase: Bandcamp

For more information on Live It Out please visit their Facebook and Twitter.