lespecial Releases Ferocious Sophomore Album [REVIEW]
Words by Randy Harris
When it comes to lespecial, the livetronic trio currently based out of Boston and New York, you really never know what you are going to get. One thing you can bet on, however, is that, whatever it is, it will be awesome. These three guys are simply the best kinds of musicians you can ask for as a fan. Not only are they extremely talented, but they also have such a deep knowledge and appreciation for music of all genres. This musical diversity is emanated throughout their live performances, and we now have even more evidence throughout the band’s second full-length album, cheen.
Drawing on their eclectic collective span of influences, lespecial opens up the album with a sneaky nod to Mario Brothers in “Donut Ghost House I.” They then proceed to rock out in “Onlookers,” while providing a dark, artistic message about the current state of the world. “Jackwise” brings out their metal influences, while getting super funky during the verses, a combination they call “death funk.” “Sound That We Do” digs into the band’s hip hop influences and feature’s Zion I on vocals, digging further into the current state of the world and getting a little bit political. “Gallows Hill” gets deep and dark, featuring heavy bass, spacy effects and haunting vocals.
“Pentachronic” kicks off the second half of the album with a more positive vibe. A short tune, the band displays a little bit more of their musical mastery by mixing up time signatures and syncopation. “Skull Kid” has sort of a Middle Eastern psychedelic feel to the intro before unleashing a blistering distortion, as well as a bit of dubtronica into the mix to finish off the tune. “American Apocalypse” brings back their signature “death funk,” but takes things down to half time later in the tune for some screeching guitar work. “Stolen Land” enters new territory (as far as this album goes at least) with some spaced out reggae music. Finally, the album closes out with “Donut Ghost House II,” expanding of course from the opening track of the album.
Overall, cheen turned out to be an excellent album. The band stayed true to themselves and as such, the result, in turn, is a reflection of who they are as both musicians and music lovers. From metal to reggae to fat funk, hip hop and dub, lespecial laid it all on the line. The crazy part is that, even though there is so much diversity in genre, the album still seems to have an odd sort of flow that somehow makes sense. The mere fact that they were able to do that proves that they put in the time and effort that can only come from a band that loves what they do.