“The Lubrication of Social Anxiety” marks the debut full length album release from Birmingham, England’s Laughing in the Face Of, and picks up where the 2008’s oversized-EP “Technically It’s Not Our Fault” left off in progressing their brand of metal-influenced post-hardcore (I think maybe we’re calling it ‘tech punk’ nowadays, but who knows). Released in February on Lockjaw Records, “The Lubrication of Social Anxiety” features eleven songs, and hits the ground running with “Open Sesame” and “Never Tire,” which feature dueling, riff-heavy guitars and rapid fire snare drum work.
In a lot of ways, LITFO are a breath of fresh air. Given their obvious metal and hardcore influences, primary vocalist Steve Lowry could have opted to take the easy way out and go with the Cookie Monster-style vocals that are way too prevalent in today’s scene. Instead, he proves almost without exception that you can take good, hard, aggressive music, use an actual singing voice over it and have the music still matter. “The Art of Burning Bridges” features the most “throat,” but is by no means overdone and serves as a good example of the technique used effectively. “Whose Line Was It Anyway” probably best epitomizes the band’s mix of the metal-infused melodic hardcore; dueling layered guitars, machine-gun snare fills, group chant chorus, just enough “throat” (the latter of which sounds very similar to Jasan Radford from the underrated (and possibly reunited) band Onesidezero – a big compliment in my book.
The band seems to be most at home playing straight-forward and heavy. “Herd of Gullibulls” and “Until The End” have a feel similar to the sound of the underrated pre-emo punk-core band Screw 32, though the latter has an fairly awesome, 80s Brit-metal inspired outro that will make you want to bang your head and ‘run to the hills.’
At times, though, the sound gets a little muddy, and there are a few times when the the progress of the song itself gets lost amidst some of the intricacies when they try to slow down and tow the more melodic line (“Green T”). Drummer Andy Powell seems to enjoy playing fast-paced and straight ahead. When done right, the rhythmic backbone is focused and on point (“Never Tire”), and is as heavy and imposing as a fully-loaded freight train steaming down the tracks. Sometimes, however, he almost seems to get lost in the moment and plays too fast, in a style that sounds like that same freighter barreling out of control (“Positively Apathetic,” “I’m Not Your Buddy, Guy”).
All in all, a very solid, very aggressive effort from the hardworking Birmingham fellas. The overwhelming feeling I was left with is that, with a little more polish, these boys are going to be making important music for quite some time.
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