Where it all began...(4.5 stars)
Steve | Brisbane, Australia | 05/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is Live's first effort, released when Ed and band were still 19! I use the exclaimation point not because of their age, but because the songs on Mental Jewelry sound much...at the risk of offending people..."older" than most teenage, angsty, Nirvana-esque efforts which were of course all the rage back in this time period.
Musically, if you've heard Live previously or not, the first thing you will/should notice is thick smatterings of bass guitar all over the place. That sort of bass lead just isn't around anymore...this cd makes you wonder why. It adds a whole new texture to the songs.
Lyrically, the words are raw, heartfelt. You wouldn't expect a 19 year old with a social consciousness to pull any punches and by no means are you disappointed. Live manage to confront religious shortcomings (Operation Spirit), the status quo (Good Pain) and world peace (10000 Years) no less through the course of this album.
Also, Ed finds time to be more introspective in songs such as the aptly named Tired of Me and Mirror Song as well as in the opening track Pain Lies on the Riverside.
The only downside (and hence the half-star) is that there is maybe 1 ballad too many on this cd. It needs just 1 more track like Operation Spirit and 1 less like You Are The World. Having said that, there isn't a bad track on this album and you will appreciate it more with each listen.
In particular, Brothers Unaware really snuck up on me. One of my faves on the album. Watch out for it."