Kill Lincoln

Can't Complain

Written by: MAK on 29/10/2020 01:15:25

With such talent that has been coming out of the United Kingdom’s ska scene over the last handful of years, bands such as Call Me Malcolm, The Bar Stool Preachers and Millie Manders and the Shut Up gaining traction over in the United States, it’s been quite easy to lose focus on the bands that have been making waves across seas. The likes of Left Alone and Canada’s K-Man and the 45’s have been tearing it up with the big boys on key ska playlists on Spotify, but it’s Washington DC’s Kill Lincoln that has massively captured the imaginations of ska-punk fans worldwide. Tracks such as “Second Cities” and the title anthem to their 2018 album “Good Riddance to Good Advice” have become streaming platform favourites, leading it to be little surprise when there was plenty of hype for the new album “Can’t Complain”

While not completely unique, Kill Lincoln’s approach to ska-punk blends chirpy third wave ska and modern pop-punk that isn’t too dissimilar to Less Than Jake of late. Right from the start with “Greetings from Inner Space” we are treated up to uplifting brass hooks and bouncy, crunchy chords that could immediately raise a crowd off the floor and get them jumping. The vocals are soft and higher-pitched, much like Roger Lima’s, emulating similar captivating singing melodies in the chorus that just hook you in. “Used Up” comes in hard and fast, up-tempo riffs and brass hooks to get you rocking, swiftly followed by speedy upstroke licks for fans to skank along to. Much like the opener, the chorus oozes a phenomenal catchy nature that makes it impossible not to hum along. All the while the brass section makes sure you know how talented it is with its own ear pricking solo to grab your attention.

The anthems do not stop, with more brass melodies to hum along to on “Last Ditch Denial” paired with yet another easily singable chorus. Three songs in and I’ve heard three potential singles, yet it’s follow-up track “Ignorance Is Bliss” that was the single. This track starts off a lot punkier in comparison. A mini shreddy riff, crunchy chords, raspy sing-shout vocals. It’s pure skate-punk vibes for about 24 seconds before the light-hearted pop-punk influences kick in and the expected brass melodies hit your ears. The track itself is short-lived at a little over 90 seconds, with the outro playing as a small instrumental for a punk skanking carnage.

Like a lot of albums, around the midway mark, you’re possibly waiting for the filler track, and it just doesn’t come. “Who Am I This Time?” plays a similar role To “Last Ditch Denial” as another fun track to dance and sing along to. Though “Confession, Obsession” has a sound that takes us to peak 90s era Less Than Jake. The tone of the brass hooks, the upstroke rhythms, the tempo, the way the vocals sound just reek of somewhere between “Losing Streak” and “Hello Rockview” in the best way. “Well Spent, Wasted” then comes in more as an outright pacey happy pop-punk hit with some brass.

This leads perfectly into the well balanced “Civil Surgery”, while most of the other tracks are happy-go-lucky bangers. Kill Lincoln show us some angsty depth. Early on, it’s all smiles and skank-worthy with the upstrokes and the “nice” brass melodies. But the track evolves into something darker, packing a bit more punch vocally, matched with harder riffs. Towards the end, it feels more like a skacore track with even show screaming vocals to boot. This might have served as the perfect album closer and I would have been happy. But just like the name of the album, nobody can really complain that more is on offer.

The angsty vibes continue with "Quarantine Dream". During social times of quarantines, lockdowns and people on edge, read into the name and the feel of this track what you will. But the song itself is a brass-punk blast with more punchy riffs, matched with yet more of the catchy vibes that have dominated this album. “Womb Envy” then comes in like a Big D and the Kids Table rip off, while the closing title track finishes us off how we started. As yet another enchanting poppy anthem that makes you want to lose your voice, whether that’s singing the vocals or the brass elements.

“Can’t Complain” as a whole is dangerously catchy. Kill Lincoln has mastered the art of writing infectiously fun anthems, so much so, that any of these tracks can be singles and live favourites for years to come and it wouldn’t be surprising. The angsty, darker elements to a really happy sounding album was a nice balance, and a cool nod to the band’s skacore track “Fire Started” from the last album. It would have been great to have maybe a little more of that heavier side, but that is nit-picking to what is a faultless ska-punk album. Even with strong competition in a genre that seems to be on a resurgence, it’s hard not to suggest that this could end up being plenty of fans choices as the best ska-punk album of 2020.


Download: Civil Surgery, Confession Obsession, Last Ditch Denial
For The Fans Of: Less Than Jake, Big D and the Kids Table, Call Me Malcolm
Listen: Facebook

Release date 07.08.2020
Bad Time Records/ Pookout Records (UK)

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