Libyans - A Common Place [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


A Common Place [12-inch] (2010)

Sorry State

After releasing a handful of singles and EPs where the band seemed to be congealing, on A Common Place Libyans have found a sweet spot situated directly between '70s punk and '80s hardcore. But, while such a formula could easily lead to treading old paths, Libyans take the basics of their lessons and supplement their music with natural progression, rather than bare experimentation.

Kicking open the door on "Blood and Rust", vocalist Liz Panella alternates between spitting and singing in a combination of Penelope Houston and Erica Daking. While the band plays with vigor, slamming through most songs in a little over a minute apiece, they avoid repetition with subtle but effective changes.

On "Life Less", the band pulls off the gas of the opening one-two punch ever so slightly, allowing their guitar riffs to over come the speed and Panella's melody to take control. While the change-up isn't dramatic in and of itself, when paired next to the other charging tracks, the band is able to maintain its momentum while keeping different colors in their sound.

Notably, the guitar and bass seem to blend together in the mix, creating a very metallic sound, which gives Panella's voice a slightly harder edge. But the effect also keeps the music edgy, but still musical. As with Panella's singing, bassist Aaron Demuth's playing becomes most distinct in between the thrashing chaos when the band slows down, allowing the low end to push the rest of the band along.

Cementing one foot in punk and the other in hardcore, Libyans have created an LP that whips by almost as harshly as the vitriol dripping from their pissed-off lyrics. Although it's unclear if the band is directly trying to reference their roots or are just playing what they know, they've created a unique release that sets itself apart from its influences by working its parts into a singular whole.