For those not in-the-know, singer and guitarist Omar Afzaal of the New York-based post-punk band Language is a Fort Wayne native, born and bred. He’s been a part of some of the most creative and progressive bands to come out of Fort Wayne in the last 15 years until he moved to the Big Apple in 2013. Bands like All Nite Skate, Castles, and House of Bread were where Afzaal shined, with House of Bread being his preeminent musical mark.
That is, until Language.
Since moving to New York Afzaal, along with singer/bassist Charles Sloan and drummer Wes Black, have recorded two EPs, a live album, and have now released their debut LP on goodyeyerecords called Plymouth.
Language as a whole hail from Brooklyn. But apart the members, which include Omar Afzaal(gtr, vox), Charles Sloan(bass, vox), and Wes Black(drums, vox) all arrived in New York from different directions with ambition and a singular desire to create great art. If you’re at all familiar with Language’s work then you know their sound is jagged like post-punk but adventurous like the best art rock from the late-70s and early-80s. Listening to their 2015 debut EP Remus was like a shot of Polvo and Deerhoof through the lens of EVOL-era Sonic Youth. There was an edge, but with a sense of abandon. Junket EP followed in 2016 and had more of a sense of urgency(no part in thanks to the political climate at the time.) The Brooklyn trio had tightened up their sound to a well-oiled machine, with almost King Crimson-esque precision.
We’ve arrived at 2018 and the political climate hasn’t gotten any better kids. Two years ago saying it couldn’t get any worse really felt like a truthful statement(I think preppy White Nationalists holding Tiki torches in Charlottesville and christian conservatives giving the President a pass on an affair with a porn star says otherwise.) One thing that has gotten better since 2016 is Language. They’ve signed a record deal with goodeyerecords and are presenting the world with their brand new EP titled Plymouth. Afzaal, Sloan, and Black have put plenty of shows and sweaty practices under their belts and their new EP shows it. It’s a tour-de-force of aggression with a purpose.
“Where To?” opens the EP with a tribal feel. Language create a gritty explosion of noisy guitar and jungle rhythms that seem to say things are getting real and we know it. “Game Piece” is the heaviest Language have gotten. They move through the track with sheer punk authority, yet there’s still a playfulness in the delivery that truly grounds the song. Afzaal lays down some effective octaves with his guitar while Sloan and Black create a rock solid rhythm section. “Standing on a new rock, kinda like the old one” Charles Sloan sings on the title track as the guys absolutely scorch the earth around them. This is a big old rock and roll track that you won’t be able to get out of your head.
Elsewhere, “Into And Out Of” borders on proto-metal with an absolute blistering guitar and drum attack. The EP closes out with “Square Winds”. A jagged post-punk number that practically melts the speakers. It’s like the Descendants and At The Drive In banged this one out in some Midwest basement while neighbors worried the end was nigh.
Language have upped themselves with each successive release. Plymouth EP shows this Brooklyn three piece continuing that trend; becoming heavier, wilier, and catchier in the process. Once the last song ends you’ll want to listen to it again. And again.
Plymouth EP is available everywhere May 18th via goodeyerecords. Preorder the cassette here.
7.9 out of 10