LibraLibra - Modern Millennial (Aspiring Downwards) 1

LibraLibra – Modern Millennial (Aspiring Downwards)

For the modern millennial, it’s hard not to be nostalgic for the indie scene of the mid-noughties. Homegrown talents like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand graced NME covers and found regular rotation on 4Music, while some of the biggest bands from overseas like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Gossip drew from the same post-punk and garage rock influences. Detractors might have laughed at the also-rans of “landfill indie” and the primitive electronic flourishes of “nu-rave” but, was it really that bad? Brighton four-piece LibraLibra certainly don’t think so, based on this second EP.

There’s two immediate factors that will shape how much you can enjoy this. The first is your tolerance for the slightly retro production: brittle drums and jagged guitars, the kind of rough-and-ready live-sounding scrappiness that makes you actively wonder how visceral a live experience they could be. The second is Beth Cannon‘s volatile, unpredictable singing. Like a British homage to Be Your Own Pet‘s Jemima Pearl, Cannon squeaks, hollers and growls her way through the EP’s five tracks. It’s the kind of commanding performance that could easily be termed “divisive.”

Does it work? Yes, and no. On lead single ‘Here’s To You Mr Robinson‘ her sneer can lean towards contrived posturing, not quite landing the nudges and winks needed to land the performance. ‘Fancy Car‘ is much more effective, with a sense of sexual urgency and coquettish potency that’s fully convincing, right down to its interpretation of John Travolta‘s best moment in Grease. Cannon’s voice is the band’s most striking tool in LibraLibra’s arsenal, undeniably powerful even when it verges on becoming an irritant.

That it’s so powerful is almost a detriment to Modern Millennial, as it masks some of the clever ideas they hold as a band. ‘Moonbeam‘ is strident fuzzy disco, a Metric-style pogo workout that’s only let down by its cliche lyrics about social media that feel like bad social commentary. Closer ‘Alchemy‘ is scorched-earth synths and rumbling bass, a power ballad on unsteady ground. You almost want her to get out the way on ‘Here’s To You Mr Robinson‘, where The Rapture‘s cowbell punk-funk meets rollicking piano chords from a Madness knees-up.

The most exciting thing about Modern Millennial is the promise of new directions it holds. It feels like they could double down on the yesteryear sound of skinny jeans and asymmetrical haircuts as expertly as they could embrace the starlit neo-disco hinted at here. The millennial generation is often mocked for being unsure of what to do and what they want, but LibraLibra have made figuring that out sound like a world to explore.

Modern Millennial is out now on Aspiring Downwards.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.