Bet Your Life are a three piece band from London, Ontario, Canada. Since forming in 2011, the band have released three EPs and a single. The latest EP, A Reason To Stay, was released in December of 2018 and is what brought the band to my attention. Playing a more aggressive style of melodic gruff punk, I was instantly impressed with what I heard and quickly added it to my "must review" list.
A Reason To Stay begins with the song Boss Fight. I thought that the opening of the song was great – the little pause after the initial beginning adds a sense of tension that really helps build the track. When the vocals came in I was quickly thinking of bands such as Hot Water Music. It wasn't long until I was singing along with the band, with the chorus being particularly infectious. The track is about passing all of your problems on to other people and running away. Next up is the song Rural Juror. On this track, Bet You Life pick the tempo up on the verses giving the song a lot of energy. The song starts in a more aggressive way with drummer Jimi seemingly putting a bit of extra sauce on each hit of the skin. The song is about being stuck in a job in a small town that you dislike and yearning to get out and do something new. This is one of those tracks that many people will relate to and will take a massive amount of joy in singing loud and proud with that fist high in the sky.
The Fly Wheel vs. The Doom Loop is a short and fast song that wastes no time in getting started with the line "here we go again" immediately being shouted out as the track begins. This is one that will leave you breathless as the band storm through, never slowing down once. It's about making the same mistakes over and over again despite all the chances you are given. I would have liked one more verse on the song as it seems to be over far too quickly and I just want more like this! Track number four is named Oceans and is a song about staying true to yourself as a band and being honest, truthful people rather than just saying things to get yourself ahead. This is a mantra that all bands should live by. I enjoyed the shifts in tempo on the song, with the breakdown being used really well to put the song’s message across and then building towards the song’s fantastic finale.
The penultimate song is titled Is Your Death Ray Even Peer-Reviewed? Much like Oceans, this track does such a good job in using different tempos. It gives the song such an epic feeling and takes you on some ride. Starting slowly, for Bet Your Life anyway, the track pulls you in with some punchy music alongside a melodic vocal style that gives the song more of a pop punk feel. After two verses and a bridge, the song punches the red button and goes into hyper speed for the chorus. This gave the song a big shot of adrenaline and got me so pumped up. To finish things off, the band slow things right down and channel their inner Red City Radio, rolling out some delectable harmonies before we explode once more to finish the song in a big way. A Reason To Stay is finished with Getting Out Of The Pigeon Game. The opening melody is infectious and grabs you from the start. There's also some harmonies used early on. This harmony is a higher pitch than the harsh, gruff vocal we've gotten used to from Bet Your Life and the two styles work wonderfully well together. Harmonies play a massive part in the song’s ending as well with some perfect "whoa-ohs" giving the song a much bigger feel – I can only imagine just how good these must be live.
Bet Your Life are a band I'm now a big fan of. This is the type of gruff punk I love, it's the perfect mix of aggression, energy and melody that is begging to be shouted along to. If, in recent years, you've thought that the gruff punk scene has been a bit watered down then you need to check out A Reason To Stay.
Stream and download A Reason To Stay here: https://music.betyourlife.ca/
Like Bet Your Life here: https://www.facebook.com/betyourlife
This review was written by Colin Clark.