The Links - 'Rap Song EP'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

There are several acts that have become mainstays of the Independent Spotlight. One of them is The Links, an outfit from Lafayette, Louisiana that I’ve showcased a series of times. They’re a prolific group that’s constantly evolving their sound, which has always been the primary basis for my lauding of their work. Their new EP is ‘Rap Song,’ an early insight to their upcoming album, ‘Sucreland.’ How does is stand against The Links extensive catalog? Let’s dig right into it.

The Links occupied a lot of experimental territory in the past, often dabbling in funk or alternative rock on efforts like last year’s ‘Shopping Cow Funk.’ ‘Summer’s Out’ was similar, too, pulling threads of psychedelic into the equation. ‘Rap Song’ isn’t actually rap, but it’s definitely nothing like what the group has released in the past. It’s a tougher, more intense jaunt through hard rock, rather than alternative rock.

Some fans of The Links may get jolted heavily by ‘Rap Song,’ for better or for worse. It’s a well written song that erupts into cacophonous hard rock as Jordan Marola, the vocalist, ultimately enters some ‘hard’ territory, screeching in a deep, angry tone. He’s accented by a very funky bass line and a searing electric guitar that takes no prisoners as it glides through the soundscape of ‘Rap Song.’

‘Rap Song’ ventures outside the realm of alternative rock that The Links have always enjoyed exploring. It’s a sonic punch in the face in contrast to their previous work, or the rest of the EP for that matter. ‘Sacramento’ is a drowned-out synth-pad playground that’s very reminiscent of The Links work in 2015. ‘You Must’ returns to the band’s excellent ability to toy with synthesizers to craft a stunning landscape complimented by soft vocal crooning. In honesty, ‘You Must’ may be the strongest effort on the EP. It’s a finale of epic proportions.

The EP also features an electronic remix of the title track, arranged by Warganization. It’s an excellent addition to the record, fleshing out the song in a fun way that's very different from the original rendition. That’s exactly what a good remix should do. Thus, ‘Rap Song’ is a remarkably strong EP, one that seems to show a shift in style once again on behalf of The Links. ‘You Must’ may be the hidden gem, though.