Saturday, October 27, 2012


I came across Lynx Africa in the run up to A Carefully Planned Festival as I scoured the list of 100 bands playing the two day event. They stood out because, well, what a dreadful – and unsearchable – way to name your band; after a deodorant with some appalling and juvenile sexist advertising (“our most popular fragrance for over a decade – and its pulling power is as effective today as it’s ever been”). However I put aside issues with the name once I’d heard their self-proclaimed “enthusiastic twee-mo woe-fi” on this short EP collection – only one song out of five is longer than two minutes. But even with such brevity the trio of performers – Grace from The Middle Ones, Mat Riviere and Jam On Bread - pack a powerful punch, simultaneously abrasive and melodic.

Lynx Africa cleverly combine Young Marble Giants rickety minimalism and angular rhythms with over-amped noisy art-punk outbursts, with vocal duties shared between all three musicians. Despite the lo-fi hiss, ‘Comfortable’ is all child-like sweet melodies and drumstick clatter before sliding into the fuzzy crunch of ‘Break Your Own Back’. ‘Holly’ begins with echoes of the Dictaphone experimentation of Tune-Yards "Bird-Brains"- shrill plucked ukulele and pulsing melodica - before bringing in stern, male intoning about “Holly was sick in the garden”. Whilst still trying to work out if Holly is suffering from happy pregnancy or sad party-excess (or some combination of said moods and states), the song’s crypticism explodes into an intense three-way shouting match. ‘Corners’ has a woozy pump-organ lurch and sparse sleigh-bell beat over which the repeated refrain “do you shut your eyes to walk around the corners sometimes?” becomes bleak existential questioning. ‘Excessive Reggae’ isn’t. Instead it is a wayward love song with the insistent faux-naif angst of a Jad Fair as it chants “I don’t want to go home with anyone else”.

It’s over too quickly and some may blanch at the rudimentary, home demo quality of these initial recordings but the compelling power of the songs is apparent. “Better” recordings are promised – as well I hope as more recordings. I can’t wait - and look forward to when searching for Lynx Africa the band, displaces Lynx Africa the tawdry deodorant.

Lynx Africa Party Barge [BUY]

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