Lithics
Borrowed Floors [LP; Water Wing]

As well as Water Wing does when it plumbs the past, its picks from the present (La Luz, Tyvek, etc.) make as much if not more noise. Lithics (or the study of stone artifacts, if Wiki ain’t screwin’ me here) see to it that the momentum is maintained, laying down a carefully controlled brand of punk that picks its points of impact with the precision of a maniacally focused architect struggling with a speed addiction and violent strain of workaholism. I’m an absolute sucker for those early Scritti Politti recordings, and I detect a steady dose of their oddly angular, spiky guitar in the better Borrowed Floors numbers. I can say as a musician of multiple decades that avoiding cliche and the traps of songwriting, particularly in the punk genre, is a maddening task that comes with effortless inspiration or not at all. Some blokes seem to be born with it, others hit it hard and flame out quickly; in any event the creative explosion bursting from within the grooves of this LP is an extremely rare event. It’s like The Joggers (miss ‘em) joined forces with Puffy Areolas, Back Magic, or perhaps The Evens, sped the tempo up precipitously, fell into a stretch of improv jam sessions, then focused all their teeming energy on eternal rhythms/riffs/low-end/vox rather than what pumps out the most decibels (save for the midsection of “Shees,” which writhes in fierce agony and splits more than a few fingers/strings). I should give the vocalist(s) credit too. There’s a Bobby Trimble quality I can’t not mention, or at least that’s what “Metal Helmet” is throwing my way (there also are well-delivered vocals from a female band member, though she could be doing it all and fooling me with her flexibility; shit that’s it isn’t it?), that and a metric ton of jerky-then-rail-thin-and-running-rampant riffs that tend to dominate the mix and my mind when I’m taking Borrowed Floors for a spin. This is a special mix where minimal guitar is concerned, each stanza well-considered and almost jarringly memorable/addictive/repeatable/obsessable/AAAAGH… There you go, drink in the post-post-post-post punk again, for the first time.

Links: Water Wing

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