From the opening bars of DIY Fisher-Price lofi post-punk disco, my earballs are alive and alert. If lockdowns have taught us to rely less on others and to embrace our technical limitations, LYNANOL shows this is a gift. It’s ugly, it’s messy, underfunded, unpolished, it’s all so accidentally cool. Like a basement tape LCD Soundsystem cool, like a ‘The First Big Weekend’ Arab Strap cool, it’s a freak out of fuzzed repetitions.
If necessity is the mother of breaking conventions, maybe we can all learn a something. Music on the cheap can be visceral, even if not always pleasurable. Over a string of short tracks we move from obscure to outlandish, and from unloved rock ‘n’ roll to unlistenable. It’s a mixtape in best sense of the word.
This mess moves from the filtered and glitched electronics of ‘Queen of Romance’, a song that swoons with a lost hard-boiled sweetness, to the Arabic-surf tones of ‘Lilly’. And if you’d never wondered how dhol and tabla might sound on a reverb soaked surf instrumental, I assure you, you are not alone. Along the way we get treated, or even subjected, to a barrage of distorted rhythms. ‘Cleaver’, ‘Shots Fired’, ’Dead In The Minds of Everyone’, these tracks expose us to the types of no-wave noise that makes something inside our ears twitch. These might well be the tracks on a Sonic Youth album that made owning on CD a must… yes we can choose to beat ourselves with them, but sometimes, with love, we might skip.
Elsewhere there’s the roughest cut gems. ‘Oh Boy’ is a bass driven gurn of a song that’s driven by mean eyed simplicity. Synths scrawl and mess around butcher’s hook bare bones in an underground dance garage fusion. ‘Scott’s Pride’ pits 90s house analogue keys against cooler than though warped electro, as it twists and breaks down like an 8-bit Four-Tet we look back to the warm glow of rave. ‘All You Can Ever Ask’ takes an Underworld vocal and traps it in contorted textures, there’s a lean crushing heat to its staccato blasts that dare you to make sense of its sounds.
And amongst all these pieces that flitter and buzz, there’s the too short ‘The Money I Owe’. It’s dry and it’s snyde and with a swagger and stride that shows off a pop sensibility. “So there I was / A good looking young whippersnapper / Freshly divorced and greatly depressed” is the sneered out and opening line. From here it develops a new sense of play that so far has been left to the music, it’s a shame this song’s kept to a sketch.
Add to this the surprisingly gentle last track that comes off like a sought after B-side, and we have a charm of an album. Equal parts lovely and brutal and lean, it’s the sound of one man’s rock ‘n’ roll.