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“Mating Surfaces” by Lithics

“Mating Surfaces” by Lithics

Live in Portland May 26, 2018 | Spare Room

Mating Surfaces, the second full-length project from Portland post-punk four-piece Lithics, is one of those albums whose cover offers an interesting contextualization of the music contained within–an arrangement of lines and figures whose real meaning lies not in the shapes themselves, but in the relationships between them. Post-punk as a genre often seems this way, simplified into the barest of elements and existing mostly in the spaces left behind, and Mating Surfaces seems to self-consciously occupy this niche with resolve.

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The album is all driving drum and bass grooves in the center of the mix beneath two tritone-heavy guitar lines hard panned to either side, set against Aubry Horner’s half-sung vocals, which are characterized by rhythmic repetitions, fixations on objects and death, and strange lyrical juxtapositions between the two: “Glass of water, spilling over/glass of water, spilling over/getting the boys to go outside/getting the boys to my suicide,” she sings on “Glass of Water.” Happy music it’s not, but with Mating Surfaces, Lithics give us a set of forms that seem to stand for our deepest inner doubts and paranoias, demanding to be heard and examined.