I have resolved this year to not give preferential treatment to albums based upon the year in which they were released. As a blogger and reviewer of musics here on Foxy Digitalis, this isn’t the easiest resolution to keep. There is always that urge to be first. To be ahead of the hype. It’s the middle of February and I assure you there are thousands of bloggers, journalists and music enthusiasts out there that are already preparing spreadsheets so, come year’s end, things’ll be simpler when compiling their “best-of” lists. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I’ve been there.
It’s that mentality that causes otherwise well-meaning, intelligent music lovers to miss out on absolutely golden albums like this one by Subtle Lip Can. Actually, that’s not true. The newest/hippest syndrome may cause a music lover to miss out on any number of golden albums, but there is nothing like Subtle Lip Can. This album is in a different category altogether. Subtle Lip Can’s self-titled debut will tear a hole in your iTunes library and devour everything you have stored there – “golden” albums included.
Subtle Lip Can’s debut is as much an animal as it is a recording. More so an animal. The tones this trio wrenches out of their instruments (guitar, violin, percussion, piano) is utterly beastly. The hush and grind of strings stretched and scraped, the pulse and breathe of drums goaded into some back-alley brawl, the tremor and growl of an amplifier delicately translating a massacre – Subtle Lip Can has created a listening experience that you see and feel, a sound that you can taste, and a tortured instrumentation that you can smell. Instruments don’t sound like this, animals do.
You know an album has you by the throat when words begin to fall so limply in description. What Subtle Lip Can’s created here is something beyond the language of common syntax and grammar. The muddled parts composing the album – the barking and yelping, the skittering and trumpeting, the groaning and gnashing, all intricately woven together like a quilt of bones – is an invention that sits outside of the vocabulary we commonly apply to music. There is no genre for this, and I hesitate to invent one. A nameless designation feels more appropriate.
Subtle Lip Can’s debut is a fleshy menace of sound; sound abounding in subtlety and carnage; sound with lungs and a heart. Simply put: it’s an album you can’t afford to miss. Release dates are insignificant (though, having been released in late November of last year, it is more than fresh enough for your attention), and that has never been more true than it is with Subtle Lip Can – essential listening.