Local punk band Lithuania recently released their debut full-length album, Hardcore Friends, on Lame-O Records. The album glistens with an upbeat mania created by Erick Slick (Dr. Dog), Dom Angelella (DRGN KING), and Ricardo Lagomasino (also DRGN KING, The Sea Around Us, & more), and subtly hints at their influences which range from Husker Du to Captain Beefheart.
Lithuania writes fast, distorted songs that are not overly complex, but draw you in with catchy vocals and swirling riffs. After listening to their initial EPs, it is clear that the band took some time to tighten up their songs and delivery, especially on album-opener “God In Two Persons.” Swift, raging riffs flow through the track and Slick delivers clean verses and more raw, shouting choruses, before the guitar takes back control of the song with a simple, fuzzy solo. Lithuania’s music is often appealing just because of how fluidly the calm vocals and seething guitars work together, and most of the album contains those soaring moments. “Pieces” incorporates thrashing riffs alongside emphatic drums and totally composed vocal takes, while “Clumsy and Forgotten” is more dynamic, with a speedy, infectious chorus that relies on harmonizing vocals. Most of their songs achieve a similar effect, convulsing with spectacular melodies and clashing guitar riffs to the point where it feels endlessly engaging.
However, sections further into the album do get more serious or sentimental. “Place of No Tomorrow” is as catchy as any other song on the record, while the vocals describe negative circumstances alongside an optimistic outlook, “god, this part of town is killing me, I need to breathe into the place of no tomorrow.” Following a more thoughtful road, “Questions” ponders more existential ideas over some of their most intense instrumentals. Slick sings “It’s true that when we die we leave our bodies all behind us,” and when the end of the song moves to chaos as the riffs get more energetic, he wildly shouts “These are the things that make us all divided, I need your attention right away, right away.” The lyrics to the final song, “Hardcore Friends,” make it a spectacle for friendship. They sing “When you close your mind do you feel less confused? When you close your eyes do you feel like I do? If I fall in love with an idea again, if I fall in love would you make sure that I’m careful with it?” The song’s odd structure leads it into a big build up, and the vocals from Rachel Browne of Field Mouse and Frances Quinlan of Hop Along add spine-chilling harmonies to the already amazing mix.
Hardcore Friends is overall a fun, inviting listen. With huge guitar riffs and spectacular tones that rage behind the talented vocal deliveries, most of their songs are upbeat and usually easy to sing along to. With the production of Joe Reinhart and Kyle Pulley at The Headroom Studio, Lithuania’s debut is an entertaining listen that comes across as sonically powerful and absolutely gleaming.
Catch Lithuania playing tonight at PhilaMOCA, alongside The Sidekicks, All Dogs, and Marge, get tickets here. In October, they’ll also be joining Beach Slang and Worriers for a North American Tour, check out all the dates here.
Featured image via Facebook.