by Lydia Pudzianowski (@DoritosHangover)
“Let’s make it better for one another,” sings Ky Brooks on “Solar,” the second track on Lungbutter’s debut LP, Honey. To that end, the Montréal three-piece, which also includes guitarist Kaity Zozula and drummer Joni Sadler, offers this album, raising the bar significantly for the rest of us. Lungbutter displays a dichotomy of beauty and bile that starts with the band’s name—the shit you cough up when you’re sick or smoking too much, simultaneously appalling and impressive—and continues with its music. Zozula and Sadler’s wall of sludge (a compliment of the highest order) lifts up Brooks’ performative speak-singing, and the three musicians easily share the spotlight thanks to their sheer talent and cohesion as a collective, which is an entirely different animal than the sum of its parts.
Third track “Vile” is a live favorite, and it’s easy to see why. As Brooks chants “vile in the city, vile in the city”—more of an incantation than it is a chorus—it’s hard not to be drawn in. Some albums offer hooks; Honey is wrapped in barbed wire. When Brooks’ voice becomes as brash and insistent as the pummeling noise behind it, as it often does, it’s something to behold. The vocal versatility is notable; Brooks also goes from monotone narration to mocking Valley Girl with ease in the span of the 1:43 of “Depanneur Sun.”
Thick and sticky and sweet, Honey echoes its namesake throughout its brief 33 minutes. (In a wonderful stroke of irony, the album’s final track, “Veneer,” includes a sort of distortion meltdown intermission.) It’s scum and shine balanced in a deliberate and perfect way by a band with enough experience to know that if anything were to shift, it wouldn’t be quite right. But, like factory machinery that’s unpolished, unbreakable, and loud as hell, Lungbutter puts the work in and then some.