It’s hard for me not to think of Lipstick Homicide as kids; they’re contemporaries of my children. I first heard them when they were barely old enough to drive, and now they’re all grown up, actual 20-somethings. Throughout that time they’ve been remarkably consistent—they play melodic punk rock. Punk is by definition a pretty static genre: You’ve got loud guitars, loud drums and loud singing—it’s not like a band would improve punk rock by incorporating free jazz or bhangra—deviate too far from the format laid down by the Ramones and you’re no longer punk.
Lipstick Homicide has remained pure. What has changed since their first recorded works six or seven years ago is the increased sophistication of their song writing. They still hew pretty close to the holy trinity of bar chords, but every song finds new ways to jump nimbly around them, occasionally approaching the sly intricacy of Alex Chilton. Songs like “I Don’t Want To Be Here Any More” seems much longer than its minute and 43 seconds, because they pack so much harmonic variety into it. It’s no surprise that Green Day’s Billy Armstrong is a fan—they’re half his age and already beating him at his own game.
And then there’s that sound, ably captured by Luke Tweedy at Flat Black. I don’t know if it’s the guitars, the amplifiers or the attitude, but Lipstick Homicide has a distinctive roar that just feels good on the ears. Luke Ferguson’s frantic, chaotic drumming perfectly compliments the sustained riffing. Rachel Feldmann’s voice is remarkable for what she doesn’t do—no yelps, screams, growls, just a unaffected vocal tone that still cuts through the sonic mayhem around it. Out Utero is pure, sensual, loud, unsubtle, exciting music that proves both punk’s staying power, and Lipstick Homicide’s authoritative mastery of the form.