released April 27, 2018
Flashy as a buzzsaw under a naked bulb, noise-sick Beijing post-punk trio Lonely Leary’s debut album Through the Park, Almost There rips through your comfort zone with a breezy unease. Mechanical, maniacal drums and robotic bass lines propel them forward, but they’re all burning flesh, aimless angst coursing through down-and-out anthems like “Stay Ugly.” Song Ang’s guitar cuts surgically, hypnotically on tracks such as mid-album highlight “Silver City,” while vocalist Qiu Chi barks his dissatisfaction throughout, most directly and despondently on “Prayers for Preparation,” the sickly ritual album closer. These songs have been through the gauntlet, spent years in trial on Beijing’s dirtiest live house stages, and emerge now clear enough to hear, opaque enough to feel on the gut level of vague nausea. Through the Park, Almost There doesn’t quite arrive, but it launches one of Beijing’s best current bands, Sisyphus-style, onto the next leg of their twisted journey to the top of the hill.