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Lip Critic

Review: Lip Critic – Hex Dealer

I’ve longingly read about (but sadly not yet experienced) Lip Critic and their wildly frenetic live shows. The two, yes, count them…two drummers – Danny Eberle and Ilan Natter – play facing each other with vocalist Bret Kaser and Connor Kleitz on samplers in the middle. Their intense electro-punk/metal sound with a bit of dance thrown in has deservedly got them a fast army of fans and they are already the band to see before the venues get any bigger.

The New York quartet have recently signed to Partisan records and with label mates such as Idles, Fontaines D.C. and PJ Harvey you know that their pedigree is there and you’re getting a picture of what to expect. So, when I had the chance to have an early doors listen to their debut album Hex Dealer, it’s fair to say that I was excited and I’ve definitely not been left disappointed.

‘It’s the Magic’ opens the album with a low growl and brooding depth. The nodding groove reminds me of my twelve year old self listening to a copied cassette tape of Rage for the first time. Then a Josh Homme style vocal, melodically spoken, comes in and it all feels right. This doesn’t last though, the vocal style changes to something nearing Nu Metal but thankfully for me (never been much of a fan) it’s in that orbit but doesn’t enter the atmosphere; it’s the Halley’s comet of musical nods. Kaser retains an edge and feel that is much more Zack De La Rocha than Fred Durst and I can breathe a sigh of relief and keep enjoying what I’m listening to.

‘Love Will Redeem You’ comes next and if you’re not bouncing around whichever setting you’ve chosen to listen to Hex Dealer in then you’d better have a pretty strong excuse. This offering is much more of a heavy and driving dance tune and shows why Lip Critic are a band that are hard to define. It’s two minutes and thirty three seconds of angry joy that possibly documents the heartfelt plea of a supplicant lover laying himself on the line and going all in (disclaimer – I did say possibly). And there we have it, stall firmly set out, sit back and enjoy the rest. Scratch that – don’t sit back – bounce around like a fool. Most songs on the record are two to three minutes long, some under and some over. That in itself tells the tale – each one comes in, mauls you around for a bit and then ends leaving you hanging and wanting more, which is perfect because that’s exactly what the next track supplies.

Hex Dealer is a great album. It’s early to say but I think it could be one of the best of the year and I’m getting more out of it with every listen. I’m also busy scouring the internet for their next live date that I definitely want to make – get in there quick before the rest of the world catches on.

4.5 rating
4.5/5
Total Score
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