by Annika Eske
After their latest album, Eyes, the most recent EP from NYC- and Boston-based artist LLVX is something of an angry inhalation before the next full-length release. The EP, titled IT’S THE VISIONS YOU PUT ON US, is simmering with discontent and uneasiness that falls just before the point of boiling over. It features crisp production on the track “AM I COLD,” an unprompted and honest bout of dialogue in “ROYALTY,” and an ambient conclusion in “There Is No Greater Love – Mollified Mix.”
“AM I COLD” is a fitting start to the EP, as it samples from the song “Cold” off LLVX’s last album release. While it gives a nod to previous work, it also incorporates a fresh new sound as featured artists Olias. and ShojiZero rap over the familiar instrumental portion. While “Cold” was a brooding slow burn of a song, “AM I COLD” quickens the pace ever so slightly. It maintains a moody aura while also taking on an almost threatening quality. As can be said of the album as a whole, this track harbors pent-up anger that evokes a compelling sense of anticipation– when will we see this energy boil over?
After “AM I COLD,” the EP delves right into the spontaneous dialogue of “ROYALTY.” The narrator here seems to be having a conversation that then sparks a rant of sorts. The lyrics point out the layers of discrimination that exist even within oppressed communities. With a thoughtful and disappointed voice, LLVX appears to make the observation that just about every group of people silences some of their members, intentionally or not. At one point for example, “ROYALTY” brings up racism and sexism within the queer community, an already oppressed group of people. This ruminative train of thought does not necessarily offer up answers, but rather, seeks to shine some light on the fact that these problems exist and should be recognized in the first place. As the narration progresses in a stream-of-consciousness style, foreboding and rhythmic piano chords lurk in the background. These chords hint again at a sensation of pent-up anger, or energy waiting to be released. The grim undertones throughout this song give greater significance to the lighter piano melody at the conclusion of the song. The twinkling final notes seem to drift above the darkness that pervaded the rest of “ROYALTY,” as if to suggest that things don’t have to remain the way they are.
Finally, the EP ends with the 16-minute ambient track, “There Is No Greater Love – Mollified Mix.” The track is, in a sense, peaceful. However, it also has an undeniable eerie edge to it – perhaps owing to the chord choice but also because of the low, vibratory quality of the sounds used. The track feels as if the rumbling approach of some colossal ship has been transformed into a beautiful and slightly industrial soundscape. Essentially, the track comes across as a temporary respite from anger. With this tranquil conclusion, there is an implication that all of the barely restrained discontent of IT’S THE VISIONS YOU PUT ON US, will be untied in LLVX’s next music release.