LICE - Wasteland: What Ails Our People Is Clear
Jan 25, 2021
On their debut record, the Bristolian art-punk quartet deliver the soundtrack to a sardonic exposition of satirical music, and it's bloody fantastic.

'WASTELAND's' philosophical undertones are portrayed through magical realism, with the band's unbounded creativity helping form a world full of shapeshifters and talking penises. Despite its fictional concept, WASTELAND's cynicism undoubtedly resonates with the current state of the world today, where both self-destruction and protest songs are very much commonplace.

This entrancing trip is brought to life with killer riffs, such as the opening 'Conveyor' which begins with what sounds like a spluttering engine, before transcending into an erupting volcano during the chorus. This piercing energy continues into 'Imposter', which features an equally addictive riff along with some pulsating drumming.

The band's avant-garde approach intensifies as the album progresses, as the heavy guitar riffs are replaced with a minimalistic house inspired 'Persuader'. By the time of the closing track we're introduced to digital drum patterns which resemble a Pharrell Williams instrumental - an interesting, but surprising turn for the album. But one prominent feature of the band's sound which remains throughout is the cloud of distortion which lingers over the vocals like a sense of impending doom. This provides a brash, industrial edge to the album, serving as an appropriate representation of the wasteland.

With vocal melodies a rare occurrence, 'WASTELAND' relies on its infectious guitar rhythms and regular tempo changes to take centre stage. This allows the prose to be ushered along in a hypnotic manner, providing lucid sensations on tracks such as 'Folla'. The band also showcase their post-punk influences on the mega single 'R.C.D.', who's deranged drumming simply adds to the chaos of the wasteland.

While an unpredictable album, 'WASTELAND' possesses many layers which will likely see your enjoyment increase with each listen. The band's experimental approach means it is an intense listen - but given their wide range of inspirations, it is an extremely exciting experience.

Best Tracks: Conveyor, Imposter, R.D.C., Pariah, Arbiter, Deluge

Worst Track: Espontaneo
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