Album Review

Lip Critic - Hex Dealer

The quartet largely justify the hype that has built around them.

Lip Critic - Hex Dealer

It takes a certain level of bombast to make the noise that New York’s Lip Critic make. Fusing hardcore punk and techno makes them a particularly interesting prospect – especially for anyone interested in Death Grips style output, only with the fury dialled down a few notches. Here on debut ‘Hex Dealer’, the quartet largely justify the hype that has built around them. The record starts with its most understated moment, creating a false sense of security through solitary pounding bass and a deftly sung refrain, before it swells and bursts into a flailing mass of tendrils, some organic, some manufactured, like a great gnashing mutant that threatens to tear a city asunder. Bret Kaser’s pitch-shifted barks terrify and incite in equal measure while the dual drumming of Danny Eberle and Ilan Natter provide the bedrock on which these songs fight and flourish. The squelching bass of ‘The Heart’ and chirping breakbeats of ‘Love Will Redeem You’ round out a strong opening trio and despite its discomforting nature, it all breezes by easily, like swallowing a tub of thumbtacks slathered in petroleum jelly. Guest features from GHÖSH and ID.Sus on ‘Bork Pelly’, and Izzy Da Fonseca on ‘Death Lurking’ provide two more highlights, with each artist understanding the assignment and matching Lip Critic’s maniacal energy.

While none of the tracks outstay their welcome, there’s a paradoxical problem in that the constant catalogue of textures begins to feel retrodden, like being lost in the woods late at night and realising you’ve been going in circles. There’s very little setting the likes of ‘Toxin Dodger’ and ‘I’m Alive’ apart from one another, however good they may independently be. But ultimately, ‘Hex Dealer’ – as grimy as a New York subway and as dangerous as scaling the Chrysler Building – establishes Lip Critic as ones to watch.

Tags: Lip Critic, Reviews, Album Reviews

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