Ever feel as if it were you v. the world? Strangers mock every missed step and poorly calculated decision, and you believe that you are straddling the threshold of all you can weather. You resort to the last known logical behavior of locking yourself in the set of walls that establish your dwelling, and ebb and flow between fits of incoherent rage and spells of lying silent in the fetal position trying to deconstruct your innate capacity to use language. If you can relate to or are going through this — or if you grew up on hearty servings of Black Flag and Minutemen — LKN's In the Leap Year might be worth listening to.
LKN is Lauren K. Newman, who not only composed the 15 songs, but also provided most of the instrumentation and vocals on the album. Newman's extensive talents are evident. She fills this recording with angst and melancholy. While Newman's songs at their best captivate, at other times they feel lacking and hollow, pretentious in their fretfulness. I hear raw potential here in the dynamics to the music, how it swells from subdued to explosive.
Her vocals are a callow cry for help. Her driving guitar playing is angular and piercing, which helps to set a mood, to bring the listener into her world. This is important. Listeners should note the real and tangible line between musicians who try to fashion a product that sounds like (insert emotion/adjective here), and artists who revel in the moment and expose themselves — to make something real and visceral, something that can both challenge us and make us feel. LKN use dissonance as a weapon.
Discordant and very abrasive, In the Leap Year may make you hate everything and everyone, including yourself. Of course, this type of anguish is not for everyone. But whether you like it or not, this recording is for real; it's intimate to the brink of masochism.