The Innocent Bystanders – Book of Life
Like a snowball gaining size as it rolls dark times tend to begat more dark times. As such, the global pandemic has led to an unprecedented increase in depression diagnosis. In the midst of such times, some individuals shine a light instead. The Innocent Bystanders opt for optimist, buoyancy, and bright shiny melodies to carry them through the darkness; on Book of Life they invite you along for the ride.
While according to the news the state may be on fire or about to drop into the Pacific Ocean, the Innocent Bystanders’ California is the warm inviting promised land of the past. Laid back vibes and good times intwine with melodies that float as freely as a kite on a beach day until a saxophone punctuates the day with a reminder of bar band exuberance. This welcoming vibe was captured by Ben Moore (recording/mixing) at Singing Serpent Studios and John Golden at Golden Mastering. Ben Nieberg occupies the big throated position at the center of the band. Songwriting duties fall to a variety of writers outside of the band, but The Innocent Bystanders effortlessly make these songs their own.
Album highlights include stage setting “No Place to Go” with all its wide-open freedom, the piano driven “Cosmic Love” that transports the listener from Cali to a 70’s era NYC Scorsese film before it flies out to the stars, and the bubbling, bouncing, traveling energy of “This Train.”
Album closer “Lost Things” marries Jackson Browne’s wide-eyed optimism and The Boss’s working-class critique into the Americana-searching weight of this collection. “Everyone’s scared of being left alone. Afraid to look deep in new eyes. Just give me a little more time, and I won’t watch this chance pass by,” sings Nieberg at once announcing his own pledge and inviting you to make your own commitment to live in the moment, to lose less things in the future. “On a path of broken spirits, souls crisscross on borrowed time, it’s there you’ll find me,” he concludes.
As their name suggests, often life moves on without our direct influence and we are just innocent bystanders to the catastrophe that plays out around us every day. On Book of Life, however, The Innocent Bystanders find hope and harmony in humanities personal moments.
2 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Innocent Bystanders “Book of Life””
Thank you for this amazing review. It captures the album’s spirit.
Missing Chris Saunders. But still a tribute to the band