There is something to be said about a band that creates the musical equivalent of ripping your face clean off your skull while sporting a mischievous grin in the process. Some may call it sick, perhaps twisted… but in the case of Northern Ireland’s LaFaro… we wouldn’t have it any other way. After last year’s spectacular and widely praised debut, the band has returned with 'Easy Meat', a brutal display of punk mayhem and noise soaked metal tendencies, delivered with charming sardonic humor and a genuinely loose brilliance. Lafaro have expanded their sound in every direction, their juggernaut approach is heavier, more melodic, and increasingly more enjoyable. LaFaro stir up quite a racket but rather than the all immersive wall of sound route, the band opt to pummel the listener with impossibly huge riffs and relentlessly pounding drums, retaining an effective simplicity in the process.
Lafaro make their grand entrance on 'Full Tilt,' a song that couldn’t be more aptly named, as the band emerge like a ferocious caged animal set free to prey on the unsuspecting. Drummer Alan Lynn simply blasts his kit as the staccato guitar riffs join in and hammer everything deep into the ground without warning. The song whirs past in a furious rage and by the time you recover the song has come to a close. 'Sucking Diesel' is slightly less abrasive as the focus shifts to Jonny Black's snide lyrics and gnarled vocals. Still slamming in every respect, hypnotic riffs and brash stop/start rhythmic attacks are joined by gang vocal chants providing an anthemic quality. 'Wingers & Chips' propels back into warp-speed, as the guys launch headfirst into the stratosphere with a grungy bomb of distorted and sneering shouted vocals. The guitars cut out briefly leaving the stampeding drums and vocals propelling forward in perpetual motion, before returning with a brief solo and full on crescendo all in under two minutes time.
The destructive nature of LaFaro’s sound is balanced by a tongue-in-cheek sensibility and overarching sense of good natured fun, as seen on tracks like 'Boke,' buzzing with energy that runs around in dizzying circles and seedy vocals that draw to mind a righteous combination of The Jesus Lizard meet Queens Of The Stone Age. Interludes separate nearly every song on the album, surprisingly without damaging the flow on a detrimental level. 'Yes!' is likely the most entertaining of the bunch, as the band bash away at their instruments in hyper-speed before arguing about “playing it right” and bursting directly back into the mayhem. 'Have a Word With Yourself' features heavy lifting from a slinking bass line and a dazzling vocal melody that is relatively tame by Lafaro standards, when Black sings “there’s a fine line in between a rut and a groove”. Spectacular lead single 'Easy Meat' begins with another blistering rhythm set to explode when the grinding guitars roar into focus. The lyrics showcase Black’s humor in grand fashion with ill fated pick up lines such as, “I know you need persuasion / I know you need to see / The slightest hint of success / but I can’t guarantee / You’ll make it through selection and make it past the heats / Or celebrate good fortune / and toast amazing feats,” and the less than subtle “If you like dancing naked / if you like easy meat / Let me give you a reason to change the fucking sheets.” The guitars rage at full blast throughout with a scathing riff that could knock down walls and demands to be played at full volume.
'Settle Petal' is a stand out track with a classic grunge tone and melody that could have sit comfortably on In Utero, only distinctly more Irish. A rant of anti-consumerism, the hook is catchy and memorable, thanks to the repetition of “There must be another way to skin this mule / There must be another way to burn this fuel / There must be another, better way” over skidding riffs and a steadily rising crescendo. The bright chugging 'Off The Chart' has a campy atmosphere somewhat reminiscent of a game show, as nearly spoken word vocals are delivered through fuzzy distortion with gems such as, “I demand to know everything / How will the dead be received? / Hey! Don’t answer so god-damn fast!” The main lick takes a bluesy tonality midway through the song, as the guys shift into math rock signatures and tempo changes.
'Slide On' features another humorous tale delivered with a cartoonishly sinister punk melody that circles around, while the drums stampede the easy going groove. 'Meat Wagon,' the album’s second single crashes forward with gang shouts before the dense rhythmic lead chugs forward into the buried vocals that wind from spoken word to full on chants. 'Maudlin,' the final track on the bruising journey is a stark acoustic number led solely by Jonny Black and his guitar. An enormous departure from everything Lafaro has done previously, the melancholy and sensitivity of the track is stunning. The song’s echoing beauty is the perfect closer to 'Easy Meat,' an album that rages like a riotous party until the final introspective moments before morning.
Exploding In Sound Magazine - Easy Meat - Album Review
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