Lip Critic – Hex Dealer

Thrillingly unpredictable sounds and genuine WTF moments...

New York’s Lip Critic make their Partisan Records album debut with ‘Hex Dealer’. Prepare to get lost in their unhinged sonic landscape, as well as have a few WTF moments on this collection of 12 tracks. The album is a combination of unpredictable sounds, experimental if you will but thoroughly engrossing at the same time. Lip Critic’s blend of hardcore, punk, electronica and dance is exhilarating and thrilling. It shakes the listener to the very core of their being, making them feel alive as the wild beats give off an almost feral like energy, raw and unconventional.   

The four singles have already given a taste of Lip Critic’s DNA. Album opener ‘It’s The Magic’ begins with a foreboding, slow stomp but as with all tracks on this album it does not follow a predictable path.  The drum and bass on ‘The Heart’ is stutteringly unhinged with increasingly distorted vocals and manic energy. It travels fast, and I mean FAST. The theme bemoans the state of the spiritual marketplace and the isolating results of consumption. ‘Milky Max’ is a highlight, a pulverising slab of electronic hardcore. The song’s shapeshifting groove anchors a sound that is instantly captivating. “All my life I just wanted to live, now I’ve gotta die just because of what I did”. The crisp yet unhinged ‘In the Wawa (Convinced I Am God)’ is led by thunderous drums, setting out as a rave for punks but soon morphing into hardcore techno before shifting gear as it races to the end.  

It’s not always easy to decipher the lyrics on Hex Dealer, but I suspect that is completely understood by Lip Critic.  On ‘My Wife and the Goblin’ just who is the goblin? Intriguing. The weird and wonderful sounds are thrilling, just how are they produced? Two tracks have guest appearances which perfectly blend into Lip Critic’s at times manic world. ‘Bork Pelly’ (featuring Ghösh, ID.Sus) and ‘Death Lurking’ (featuring Izzy da Fonseca) which as the title suggests is darkly foreboding. It’s repetition of “fuck that selfish man” is prime earworm material. The manic energy hits unprecedented levels on ‘Sermon’, which declares “for you I’d die naked”. This is a love song Lip Critic style and is utterly exhilarating.  ‘Love Will Redeem You’ is another track which reaches fever pitch, the vocal of Bret Kasler warping back and forth, at times distorted beyond recognition: “Tell me what you want, nothings out of bounds” declares Kasler.

Lip Critic have two drummers in Ilan Natter and Daniel Eberle and have shared this was intentional due to the music they wanted to create. It’s not so the sound can be louder, rather that they play different parts.‘I’m Alive’ combines the drums and synths to stunning effect with the blinks of the beats plus the thrashing drums creating a layer of energised sonic waves. ‘Toxin Dodger’ closes out Hex Dealer, but there is no chance of slowing the pace, its full throttle to the very end. The speed of the vocal delivery is staggering, and there is a swagger to this final track. And it’s abrupt and thus the album seems somehow entirely appropriate. Lip Critic have produced an album loaded with imagination and creativity. Free of genres they have created a body of work which takes the listener on a completely unpredictable ride in sonic chaos and mayhem. Ferocious and feral yet exhilarating and energising, this is music that will reverberate through your bones. One to play loud and ignore the world outside. And boy do we need that right now.

8/10

Words: Julia Mason

-
Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.