After the posthumous debut release from Hangzhou post-punk band Wisdom Teeth on Maybe Mars earlier this summer, lead singer and guitarist Li Wangnian comes swinging back with an exceptional solo release (on Wuhan based label Sense Club Records) that proves that Wisdom Teeth was no fluke and was just an inkling of what the multi-talented artist was capable of. Jumping from piano-led ballads to electric drum beat post-punk grooves; to songs that touch upon grief to retellings of “Wild Grass’ from renowned Chinese poet Lu Xun, with ear-tickling instrumental buffers found throughout, the album is brimming with ideas both musically and lyrically. Unlike Wisdom Teeth, which at times felt confined to its genre, Li Wangnian is able to find solace in the unlikeliest of places on Already Left, and in turn, has crafted one of the finest albums of the year.
Reminiscent of a lot of the old school punk bands found at Scream Club in the late 90s (Brain Failure, A-Boys, Reflector) as well as some of Beijing’s more established street punk bands with an anti-establishment bent, such as Gum Bleed – Discord is punk rock down right – big melodies, endless energy with just the right amount of urgency and angst. While the stakes involved are never life-threatening, the band is battling for their souls in a society that refuses to understand them. Don’t be surprised if you’re raising your fists in the air by the time the title track rolls along.
Described as an ‘artistic statement that goes against the tide of over thought and overproduced music…a gathering of musicians whose musical goal is to experiment without boundaries and express and play music outside of the usual perimeters’ the ridiculously named Beijing trio are a middle finger to all self-serious rock and rollers out there, an anarchist, loose, improvisational jam that delights in meandering and locking in on whatever chord, beat, or phrase tickles their fancy. And while they don’t always hit their mark, when they do, it’s a devilishly good time.