The Lillingtons – Stella Sapiente
When you live in the super-safe politically correct world of today where punk is essentially dead and rock ‘n’ roll is on life support, everyone seems to look to the past to find these crumbs of nostalgia, of what was, to give them just one more taste of what it used to be like back in the day. Everyone’s looking for a “time capsule band.” The Lillingtons, a supposed legendary pop-punk band from Wyoming, probably ’cause they’re the only remotely known punk band from Wyoming besides Teenage Bottlerocket (which also features Lillingtons vocalist Kody Templeman), fit that bill exactly.
The Lillingtons are the perfect “time capsule band.” They’re from the late 1990s, where they had decent albums produced by both Joe Queer and Ben Weasel. But The Lillingtons are around that “hipster insufferable” level right now as far as their annoying fan base is concerned, which may or may not stunt their growth, if they’re even interested in growing. The band reformed for a one-off to play Riot Fest a few years back, which went over big with certain folks. The Lillingtons remain semi-obscure though – they only have about 6,000 likes on Facebook, and they’re not playing any shows except for The Fest in Gainesville, which should tell you something, that they and some others think that they’re pretty damn “cool” or something. The band is pretty good and can be a lot of fun, but do they want to be fun to a more mainstream audience or do they want to just worry about being cool to grumpy, hard-to-please hipsters forever? Probably the latter, but we’ll see.
Stella Sapiente is The Lillingtons first record in over a decade. The band is very well rehearsed, polished, and tight on this album. The production is extremely clean, professional, top notch, but not overly done or over-the-top. Nothing but raw and real sounds here. Drums, bass, guitar, and vocals are all recorded well and mixed to perfection. The songwriting is taken up a notch by Kody Templeman and company, actually many notches, beyond the usual trappings of traditional pop-punk. This is a very spacey and surfy record reminiscent of Agent Orange and dare I say Fear. Not the attitude of Fear – this band is far too safe and PC – but I mean the musical ingenuity of Fear. Musically this band has grown up a lot over the last decade and it’s pretty damn amazing.
Old school fans may be miffed that this record doesn’t sound like The Ramones. My suggestion: listen to Teenage Bottlerocket instead. Better yet, listen to The Ramones. Even better, be open-minded and give this record another spin, see if it grows on you. Some Lillingtons is better than no Lillingtons. Be thankful for this.
[Fat Wreck Chords]