Once upon a time in Ipswitch

-- Lebrique --

David Hardy

Album genres:
Noise Rock
Album artists:
Ross Abrahams Bass & Vocals
Lee Smith Guitar & Vocals
Owen Iles Drums

Review written by David "Orcish Shredder" Hardy.

What is it

A first album coming from this young band from Ipswich and in all fairness, I like it! English folks shouting in a microphone making a maximum of noise with saturation, we know what it can give! Then we look a little further down this rabbit hole and we see that, apart from beautiful parks, museums, classified buildings, a port and a soccer team, there is not much ... so where do they get all this anger from?

We're clearly in noise rock territory, but let's be frank here, we remain in a first album and the finer details remain to be determined. Eight songs are on Lebrique's debut "Head Trap" but which can pass almost as one long, 29-minute tune... let's go deeper and discover this first album of the band Lebrique!

And to remain on the dead honest track, I'm not a noise rock expert, I approach Lebrique's "Head Trap" by what I know from stuff like the album "Utopia" by No one Is Innocent as well as Sonic youth, White zombie and The Tyran Brothers (a band that mixes math with noise rock which I like a lot. Enough introductions, you've been warned!

How is it

Lebrique's "Head Trap" album begins with Block, a song with a very notable crunchy main bassline, noisy riffs and shouty vocals.
Keep down is clearly my favorite track, it's the second song on the album and for me it shows Lebrique at their current best. The track features a good balance of the repetitiveness and the dissonance, of the clear singing and the saturated singing,of the double pedal and the fill, we're really on a title which has the great idea to avoid the "all on the same foot" and thus gives the song necessary stages for an intelligent composition.

What I reproach a little to this album is the overall uniformity. Then again, I know, I often complain about non-uniformity but in this case, there's too much uniformity overall! A good example are the album's third and fourth tracks, Meth Bath and Needle up and I don't see any difference between those two tunes, at the first listening one could clearly say that both tracks are basically the same title with some nuances.
Leptrica is not bad, but its long and flabby end leaves me perplexed, there was better to do, even if I like this change of power, it seems that it stretches like an avowal of impotence from the 2:30 minute mark to more than a minute thirty! Too bad because overall I do like this song even though it lacked a few touches of spice to raise the stakes a bit. Otherwise it would have been great.

I skipped on Metro Goat which is a pure filler track that didn't have anything to my tastes.
The follow up, Constrictor is a bit more interesting but takes the base of the preceding Metro Goat track as a launching pad which makes it... a bit heavy! It's the longest song on the album with a 4:31 runtime which makes this a thickly layered song. When it comes to technique we feel that some measures are really too much, it's sad but acceptable for a first album. So, yes, I like this track. And I certainly think the work of Owen Iles on the drums is worth praising in this particular track.

As I often say, the last track is important, it's the one that makes you either want to come back... or not! Age by Sin ends this album... in the most beautiful way. There on the other hand, small yellow card to Owen, who, well, we feel it, loves his cymbals, but he doesn't use them with the same subtlety as on the Constrictor and is in my opinion a little too brutal and uniform for his style of play (especially on the end).

What to think

"Keep down, Constrictor and Age by sin are the truly highlights on this album. A first one that makes you want more because the energy and the complementarity are in there, when Lebrique doesn't fall for the easy way, they do really good things. 

Some tips: avoid putting redundant bars, add more nuance in some parts of the songs, think to use more often all the cymbals parts (not only a big hit on the beat), continue to propose "cut" just for the bass to make powerful launches, put maybe a little more "boom" in the bass drum. As you can see, there isn't any dealbreaking criticism here, just a set of small touches that, if properly applied, could make Lebrique a noise rock force to be reckoned with!

Final score

70% Lebrique's "Head Trap" album is a solid noise rock debut that makes me curious for more. While their first recorded material lacks some overall nuance and from time to time falls into the genre's clich├ęs, but when they're putting their A-game, they hit a lot of marks! If you enjoy noise rock even a little bit, then Lebrique is a band to keep your eye on!