When Lifehouse announced in 2013 that they were on hiatus, it was clear that the 15 million album selling band were at something of a crossroads. Two years earlier they had released their sixth album to a mixed reception, but the record failed to spawn a second single or indeed a tour. To the delight of their fanbase, the break has been relatively short-lived, with this release getting promotion through a support slot with Nickelback and headline European shows coming this Autumn.
As if keen to reassure fans that they haven't lost their mojo, Lifehouse open 'Out Of The Wasteland' with the type of radio-friendly rock anthem that has been a staple in their career. 'Hurricane' may not reinvent the musical wheel, but it powers along with an arms-in-the-air chorus. Revisiting the experimentation of the last record, 'One For The Pain' crucially contains the melody that was all too often missing there, while 'Flight' is a non-linear track that builds to a spirited climax in the mould of fan favourite 'Everything'. Based on an arena-sized hook, 'Runaways' is the first of back-to-back anthems that is bettered by the emotive 'Firing Squad', a song that suits Jason Wade's vocal range of going from vulnerable to powerful.
The second half of the OOTW sees a turn on lead vocals for bassist Bryce Soderberg - and it turns out surprisingly well. 'Stardust' is a nod to the pop-rock music of decades passed, aided with a sprinkling of synthesisers to create an enjoyable highlight. It is followed by a pleasant mid-tempo number in the shape of 'Alien', while 'Hurt This Way' has a folk influence on a song that could easily be a sing-along. Indeed, the only shame is that a couple of the mellower songs don't hit the mark, a shame given that Wade is such a compelling vocalist even in serener moments - check out 'Simon' from their debut for a prime example. This, however, doesn't spoil 'Out Of The Wasteland', which is ultimately a welcome return for the band who provide a number of genuinely worthy songs to the Lifehouse legacy.
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