The Links are an alternative band from Lafayette, who have gone through several line-ups and put out a handful of releases over the past 5 years. The band centers around vocalist and song-writer Jordan Marola, with the latest “Sucreland” album being composed and recorded mostly by Jordan and fellow multi-instrumentalist and drummer Matthew Ashy. The band has been playing shows around Lafayette, LA and is currently in talks to do a tour in early 2017.
It’s difficult to pin-point their sound, which I think is often the trademark of really good bands, even though a lot of labels do sometimes come to mind. There’s a sort of electronic sensibility hidden somewhere, but it’s a lot more complex than that with powerful elements of guitar-driven rock dominating the soundscapes. There are occasional pulses behind the songs – never antagonistic or forced – that have a slight trip-hop feel, but it never feels cheap or chewy.
Lyrically, the songs are pretty profound and tend to be as inscrutable as any verses you might find by more labyrinthine rock bands. Regardless if the sound is upbeat or down, there’s always an energy driving it that really hooks the ear. It’s an infectious and slippery album which plays with the mind and heart while refusing to sit still long enough to be pigeonholed. Considering that nowadays cookie-cutter pop-rock is pretty much everywhere, it’s a treat to find something so indecipherably beautiful out there to be enjoyed.
Another appealing factor of “Sucreland” is how sound resonates really well and it’s easier to pick up on details within each song. For the most part the sound is rich and satisfying, and then sometimes it can go into overblown, overdriven chaos that will rattle the joints in your bones. A prime example is the thundering track “Hot Christmases”.
Yet The Links are capable on the very next track, “Underwater Lemmings”, to slide into an almost slow-burning ambient soundscape filled with an airy melody. But all of the sounds and textures that The Links create make them one of the most interesting and unique group of musicians that I have heard in a while and their delivery can be an emotional experience.
The sounds on this whole album can move from very subtle and are very creative, to very harsh and loud, sometimes in the same song. Take for example the five minute opus “Rock Cobbler” which will cause you to listen very closely, and is a very rewarding endeavor. Jordan Marola sings in what would seem to be the very bottom of his raspy falsetto voice in some instances, and it sounds very different to what one is used to hearing from mainstream singers. And I think that for just this reason alone, his voice conveys or expresses so much edgy emotion, and will elicit response from listeners.
From track one, “What Does It All Mean” to the closing, “Ethor”, this album shines with so many creative ideas that are woven into pretty much any musical genre one can fit into an album release. Tracks that really caught my attention were, the pulsating rock groove of “Rap Song”, the hypnotic percussive rhythms of “Into The Sky” where drummer Matthew Ashy shines brightly. Without a doubt the mesmerizing keyboards and whispery-to-soaring vocals on “What Do You Expect” is spellbinding. As is the jangly and poignant “Modela”.
This album will be one of the most unique things you’ll hear during the opening months of this new year. It has an alternative style that is difficult to describe in a couple of words. There are so many nuances in each song that can only be heard if you play them loud. I cannot recommend The Links highly enough; especially if you’re looking for something different to the ordinary everyday music you can hear anywhere.
The Links have also released a new single, recorded during the “Sucreland” sessions, called “I Don’t Want To Do This Alone,” which is available on their Bandcamp page.