Lynks – ‘Smash Hits Vol. 2’ EP review: playful anthems from Bristol’s queercore breakout

The self-anointed "drag monster" gleefully ups the game on outrageous new EP

While sitting on the night bus home, 22-year-old Bristolian Elliot Brett started assembling the pieces that make up ‘Everyone’s Hot (And I’m Not)’. Brett had been violently rejected back in the club by someone they had “wrongly assumed was gay” and their mind was flooded with phrases that summarised their sense of social displacement and alienation: “I’ve got one pound, they’ve got one million/Everyone’s a reptile, I’m an amphibian”, to quote just a couple. The sentiments are piercingly real, but, such is Brett’s character, they are self-deprecating at the same time. Add to this a set of bouncing, giddily elastic beats and you have an outsider anthem, a self-help guide for the disenchanted. After all, for as long as the dancing continues, the pain can’t get in.

The track is the opening salvo on the second EP by Lynks, the queercore avant-pop moniker under which Brett releases their music. It could also function as Lynks’ manifesto: wry, self-effacing, socially conscious and irresistibly fun.

As ‘How to Be Successful’ from 2020’s ‘Smash Hits Vol. 1’ has already proved, Lynks can eviscerate society’s external pressures and have fun at the same time. Now ‘Brand New Face’ takes aim at the unattainable standards of the Insta-fixated, Gen Z obsession with beauty culture (“Skinny, I’m so pretty, I’m so handsome/I don’t need a snack, bitch I am one/I’m a 10 out of 10 on a Samsung”), while juddering, metallic beats create a retro-futurist sense of decadence at a party for the end of the world.

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There is a charming, homespun-ness to the production that only enhances Lynks’ outsider status, even if the five tracks here manage to tease at different music histories with ease. ‘Don’t Take It Personal’ is doused in New Romantic drama and sci-fi synth strains that invoke Gary Numan, while ‘This Is The Hit’ is propelled by squelching, pulsing beats and a spoken word delivery that comes across like a DFA rework of an early 80s ESG piece with lyrics by Sparks’ Ron Mael. And then there is Lynks’ cover of Courtney Barnett’s ‘Pedestrian at Best’, the deadpan lyrics of which chime alarmingly well with Lynks’ own, offering the same scathing indifference to the outside world as they do to their own internal monologue.

Even down to this EP’s playful title, Lynks studiously avoids any overt sense of sincerity, marrying a self-aware, playfully idiosyncratic persona with a sharp satirical eye. Even if they don’t take themselves seriously, it’s clear that you ought to be.

Details

  • Release date: January 27
  • Record label: LynksCorp
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