Lingua Nada are a hard band to pin down. They’ve been described as everything and anything, from progressive pop to math rock, and their own Bandcamp page’s tags run the gamut from shoegaze to emo. It has to be impossible for a band to truly embody all these genres, right?
That’s one assumption that quickly goes out the window after a listen to the band’s full-length debut, Snuff. Indeed, despite the inclusion of just ten tracks, the material here covers a hell of a lot of ground. It’s an astonishingly well-integrated mishmash of sound, practically bursting at the seams with a live wire energy that drives the band’s ecstatic experimentation.
Though it’s formally considered their debut, it’s easy to tell that Snuff is no amateur release. For the four-piece—led by Adam Lenox Jr. on vocals and guitar (as well as on recording and production duties), with Michael Geyer on second guitar, Arvid Sobek on bass, and Valentin Tornow on percussion and trumpet—this has been a long time coming. Based in Leipzig, Germany, Lingua Nada has gained some traction in the European indie world, having spent the past two years touring rather relentlessly to support a couple of EP releases. Even as far back as 2014 the band were already recording together under the name “Goodbye Ally Airships,” though their only LP with that moniker exhibits more straight up emo and post-hardcore tendencies. It’s clear they’ve done a fair amount of maturing their sound since then.
Snuff deftly incorporates the band’s obvious love for hard-driving punk and noise-rock with lighter moments of shoegaze and pop-rock. Opening track “Svrf Party” pretty much gives you a taste of all of these pieces upfront, nearly causing auditory whiplash right out of the gate. With a penchant for near-operatic drama and frenzied, guitar-driven tempos recalling thrash metal, it can take a lot of energy just to listen to this stuff, but it’s always rewarding.
“A Netflix Original,” for example, starts off with a barrage on all your senses, but quickly evolves into math rock-leaning arpeggios, with string instruments and synths adorning a buildup to a joyous post-punk jam. Other highlights include “Cyanide Soda,” an almost danceable track with some of the catchiest riffs on the album, as well as “Shapeshifted,” at once moody, brooding, and soaring.
Lingua Nada's Snuff is a wild ride without a doubt, but it's one you won't regret taking. Just be sure to buckle up.