Liss has been a much hyped group of boys from Aarhus – now with their first EP out on an international label (XL) and loads of star-studded producers and pop music heavy hitters (Rodaith McDonald, Pharrell) being associated with them – they are all set to be the next big thing from Denmark. How many times have we said that though?
Firstly – I was curious about Liss – as they were billed as a “Post-Punk” band – a genre that’s definitely put Denmark on the map over the last few years with groups like Iceage, Lower, Communions and Yung reviving both the music, and look from early 80s British and American post-punk scenes. In the case of Liss though – unfortunately they look the part – but their sound….how would you DARE call this post-punk? I’ve actually had to check that my computer was not having one of its brain farts while playing the EP.
What “First” is though is a 5-song pop EP. It’s not exactly a bad one, though. Liss could be from anywhere however – they are just lucky they are from Aarhus because if they were from…I dunno…NYC – this would be ‘old hat’ and the hundreds of other bands mixing smooth R&B, Prince vocals, slap bass and electro would trump them. This may be a case of a scene being so played out that the industry is looking to sign virtually anything that sounds remotely good from Denmark and churn it out. Post-punk fashion has once again become mainstream (even H&M is into collarless jackets and mirrored sunglasses this year) and like the Shoegaze revival of a couple years ago – now every young group is saying they are post-punk. This is the most ridiculous example of mis-labeling a product that I’ve ever had to endure in Denmark’s scene.
Through the 5 songs here though – from opener “Sorry”’s soulful layered and treated harmonies through a vocoder (the most punk of retro electronic effects), the modern hip-hop infused slow-jammy “Good Enough” (which sounds more Drake than post ANYTHING), the funky café funk of “Miles Apart” (like Jamiroquai meets 90s Prince) and ending with “Without Me”’s dreamy electro-Spandau Ballet-meets-Lenny Kravitz-vibe – the EP is solid good pop music with loads of retro and modern references. It’s possibly a bit over produced and devoid of anything that new or original though.
Is it post-punk? Hell no. Is it trendy modern music you’d expect to hear in Urban Outfitters? Hell yes. Is it the flavor of the month from Denmark? Definitely. Is it here to stay? I don’t know. Not my job to decide. There’s a new record out from Yung next week – some actual post-punk where the aesthetic is justified.
Just remember that before you completely lose your shit – is that they used to be called “Aarhus”. Possibly ironically.
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"They are all set to be the next big thing from Denmark. How many times have we said that though?" (2/6)