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Album Review

You can bet that a karaoke version of LiLiPUT's first full-length will never see the light of day. It's an exciting and ultimately accessible amalgam of crazy rhythms and impossible-to-replicate vocalisms. The recording found the band as a trio, having lost a drummer and a saxophonist. Only Astrid Spirit, Klaudia Schiff, and Marlene Marder remained, sharing all of the duties. Aside from the airy "Might Is Right" and the relatively forceful "Like or Lump It," there's hardly any prominent guitar. Otherwise, you probably wouldn't hear guitar unless you were specifically hunting for it in the mix, because it makes for just as much of a percussive element as the drums. Generally, they pound out a loping rhythm and chant unintelligible phrases, adding the occasional violin shriek or unidentifiable nuance. This method strikes gold with each attempt. "Do You Mind My Dream" snarls and swoops; the guitar is just as effectively plucky and trebly as the one found on Liquid Liquid's "Optimo" and Talking Heads' "I Zimbra." Spirit's squeaky vocals highlight "In a Mess" and "Tong Tong," both of which could be mistaken for New York funksters ESG. "Outburst" could be the best example of LiLiPUT's greatness, with a jumpy bassline and the most animalistic of vocal gestures. Spirit "ugh"s in time with the one-two bass punch as if she were being karate chopped in the gut. At other points during the song, she alternates between "proper" singing and helium ingestion, breaking that up with hyena-like noises. LiLiPUT actually gets more experimental than that. "Birdy" is a nails-on-chalkboard violin instrumental, gradually gathering steam until hitting overload. "Umamm," another instrumental, offers little more than tribal drums. Thanks to the similarly titled compilation, the album is available in its entirety.

Liliput, Kleenex/Liliput
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