EP Review: Lance Bangs — ‘WHAMMY’
Posted: by The Editor
Over the past few years, Richmond, Virginia has been steadily becoming a hotbed of underrated and stylized indie rock. Local acts involved in Citrus City Records, like Sammi Lanzetta and Camp Howard, put out incredible records last year to little fanfare. To an outsider, the label carries a touch of mythos and feels more like a collective; even after bands like Crumb have gone national, left, and signed elsewhere, they feel forever like a part of Citrus City, and towards the core of this collective sits Lance Bangs.
Headed by vocalist Colin Thibodeau, they’ve been making lively post-punk since their 2016 EP Lance Mountain; Thibodeau himself used to make music under a version of his name, which feels like a treasure hidden deep within Bandcamp. Their latest EP, WHAMMY, is only 11 minutes long, and yet still their longest work to date. It keeps all the slouching charm of its predecessor while imbuing it with finesse. The band is able to breathlessly pack commentary on death, addiction, and sexuality into a release that you could finish on your commute to work.
The first few eyebrow-raising lines of “DEAD MAN” come after a powerful build up. Presumably talking to someone he’s very close to, Thibodeau shouts, “Last night / I broke my arm / when you told me / that it turned you on.” The song quickly moves on, though, shifting into a vignette about a man’s death in his own driveway. Like most of the record, the song is brief, but Thibodeau is able to paint a vivid portrait of both the randomness of death, and hyperbolize the lengths we will go to please people.
The excellent “TELLIN’ SECRETS” explores the wave of regret that often follows pleasure. From the unpleasant smell of smoke from a blown-out candle to the sobering, regretful clarity often felt after fits of lust, Thibodeau shouts over angular guitar riffs. The band manages to pack a lot of thought-provoking content into a minute and a half. Try to grasp it all on one listen—you can’t. Thibodeau’s vocal delivery is distinctive, a sort of jerking, assertive shout. Each song on WHAMMY is stylized in Caps Lock, and it feels like every word he utters is, too.
“SPIKE” gives Lance Bangs a chance to play with various effects. Throughout, we see both Thibodeau’s voice and the central guitar part elongate and fade into nothingness. It’s an immediately captivating song, and as it’s lyrics hint at a commentary on addiction, Thibodeau sings for nearly a minute about a winged creature taking him away to chasing a dragon. It opens with the bemusing line “With or without it / I still am not shit / I sold my soul / In order to get lit.” References to drugs aren’t new for Lance Bangs: their previous work included an excellent track entitled “#1 Single Released on 420”, but what they’re doing here sounds more cautionary, and more like a commentary on things that lurk around the darker edges of many music scenes.
WHAMMY is a powerful force for an EP, and burns so quickly that you think you’re being given a long list of instructions. It’s only human nature that you’re going to be overloaded and have to stop and listen again. You’ll still probably miss something.
Eric Bennett | @seething_coast
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