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 band that I’ve written about a few times over here on the Independent Spotlight. One of those acts are The Links, an indie garage outfit hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana. In my previous ventures into their catalog, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by their ability to create a wholly original indie rock experience with their own unique flair. Their most recent release this winter is ‘Summer’s Out,’ an EP that is described as a “grab bag of garage rock, jams, psychedelic psychotics, and outbursts.” That sounds like a recipe for either brilliance or disaster. Let’s find out which it ends up being.
Even though The Links tote themselves as an effort that is primarily garage rock, punk, and psychedelic, I’d argue there is a bit more at play. One of the mainstays of The Links’ sound that I adore is their bass-lines. Man, those are borderline funky, really creating at atmosphere I’ve come to love with the band. Right out of the gate, ‘The Argument’ assured me that that bass is back in force, something I’m thrilled to report. This punchy, funkified, rock piece is straight out of a Portland garage.
‘The Argument’ sets an interesting precedent for ‘Summer’s Out.’ It’s a bit of an inaccessible tune, really bombarding you with noise and intensity on the first track. The Links may have been better suited switching the title track into the first position, because it’s one of the highlights of the album. ‘Summer’s Out’ is far more accessible, and it’s indie rock that’ll be more recognizable to fans of the genre. It’s lo-fi and crunchy, but also has some excellent melodies you can really follow, unlike ‘The Argument.’
‘Leave a Light On’ is one of the most dynamic efforts I’ve heard from The Links. It incorporates some heavy electronic influence, something the outfit has toyed with to a modest degree of success in the past. This particular synthesizer just works, though, and it infectiously blends with the instrumentation and superb lead vocals. As always, one of the hidden surprises of The Links’ music is the equally superb percussion.
‘Ants Do the Jig’ is definitely the first psychedelic, psychotic outburst on the album. It’s brilliant, though, and creates an amazing atmosphere of varying walls of building noise around an insane percussion riff. It’s an invasive tune to listen to, yes, but a rewarding romp through hard rocking garage musings. The tune following, ‘Spacecock,’ isn’t near as crazy, rather allowing an acoustic guitar, piano, and synthesizer to dance with one another across a stunning landscape.
‘Gone Are the Days’ feels a bit like a tune pulled off the cutting room floor of a Doors session. There’s a great bass line, a fantastic organ, and a dark, moody atmosphere. It acts as an odd segue into ‘Scars & Chocolates,’ actually, which is definitely the ‘hardest’ endeavor on ‘Summer’s Out.’ ‘Scars & Chocolates’ has an introduction that feels borderline metal, really delving into some pseudo-screamo territory. That style returns on and off, creating a very bipolar listening experience.
‘Overtaken’ closes out the album in a phenomenal fashion. It culminates a lot of sonic themes introduced throughout the record for an especially cohesive finale. This is impressive, because perhaps even without meaning to, The Links have introduced a hodgepodge of genres that shouldn’t sound good together into their music and persona. They do it with such free spirited passion, though, that they remain one of my favorite indie rock outfits.
Go check out ‘Summer’s Out.’ You can grab it for free or throw a bit toward The Links for its download. Throw them a few bucks if you can, you’re getting a nice package of eight rather fun tracks that’ll be very much worth your time.