Networks is the newest release from Tallahassee Florida band Liponia. The album opens with silence and an electronic voice and intro that totally sets the vibe for the record. The silence engages the listener immediately, no matter how many times I listened to the record, I always checked to make sure I pushed play and that the volume was turned up. I am not sure if that was their intention, just having me go through those actions made me a bit more engaged in the album instead of just hitting play and letting my mind wander. The voice belongs to none other than George Carlin, though a bit distorted, we hear a snippet from one of his rants on religion, “The longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize something is fucked up. Something is wrong here: war, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work.” A heavy quote to kick off the album.
Full of distinct intros, distortion, heavy music, and hunting vocals, Networks creates a distinctive feel for the listener. Networks is an album that exists on the thin line between emo and post hardcore, pairing heavy music with crooning vocals. There are even moments that call back to the electronic new wave sounds of The Cure and Depeche Mode. One of the elements that stands out most on Networks, is the great moments where the music and the vocals are engaged in a battle for supremacy. This battle not only adds a layer of chaos that drives the tracks, but it shows that vocals don’t always have to be in the forefront or completely absent. It shows that it is possible to have a track with vocals where the music is in the forefront.
The opening track, Followers is one of the strongest tracks on the album. The music is solid and the vocals are the full through the whole track. The track pounds through two and a half minutes, never letting up, until we get to this stripped down section that is haunting in its calmness. The song quickly picks back up the frenzied vibe to carry us through the remaining time.
The River, is hands down the best track on the album, begins with a crooning yet hollow distorted voice that is super interesting (think Glenn Danzig meets Dave Gahan). I think what really grabbed me was the affect that the use of repetition had on me. Somehow it made the song weasel inside of me and take hold, befroe I knew it I was trying to sing along even though I didn’t know the words yet. There are these simple beautiful moments where we can hear strained vocals that are just on the border of screaming. Though I am a huge fan of raw vocals, I really love the control that we can hear in these sections, it is in the restraint where you can really feel the passion of the lyrics “against the grain”.
Networks will be out mid July through the UK Label Disconnect Disconnect Records. The band will be self-releasing the album in the States with a special edition white vinyl and digital download via their bandcamppage. You can check out The River at Punknews and Breakthrough at AP.