A fun, fleeting listen
Lizzy Plapinger has released Junk of the Heart, an EP under her solo project LPX. Junk of the Heart is a brief but intense jaunt through Plapinger’s punchy, catchy dream pop stylings. The songs are raw and emotive, which occasionally hampers them from a technical perspective, but, it’s also Junk of the Heart’s greatest strength. Though it consists of just four short songs, this EP contains flashes of brilliance.
Throughout Junk of the Heart, Plapinger effortlessly masters dynamics to create diverse sounds and build to massive crescendos. The album’s opener, “Black & White,” constantly teases listeners with its epic, cut-time choruses that end with a pause that begs for a full-on crescendo to follow. But Plapinger makes the listener wait, finally releasing nearly four minutes’ worth of tension with a huge, cascading outro accompanied by a tasteful guitar riff and booming percussion.
“Might Not Make It” opens with a dreamy synth-pop sound akin to Alvvays. It’s an upbeat, feel-good tune highlighted by a minimalist breakdown that builds perfectly into another awesome drop that listeners will have to try not to dance to. The vocals are a little shaky on the line “we’re saving the world,” but otherwise are solid. The mixing in the verse is also iffy, as the vocals become muddy and incomprehensible.
“Falling to Fall” is the album’s weakest offering, as it feels less like a fun, catchy synth-pop tune and more like a filler track checking off a list of dream pop elements. It shares many characteristics with the first two songs, but it’s just inherently less interesting. In particular, the song suffers from a lack of melody, as it is dragged along by generic chords ringing out for whole measures and one repetitive guitar melody.
Fortunately, “Give Up The Ghost” instantly rectifies this melody problem by delivering some of the most varied and interesting melodies on the album. Throughout the verse, the pulsing quarter-note synth riff drives the song into a buildup. A palm-muted riff continues to build tension, along with layered percussion and another lead guitar melody. There’s a lot going on here, but it all effectively works together as the song hurdles towards a chorus. The chorus delivers on the promise of the verse with a bouncy 4/4 groove that’s easy to move to. Plapinger is at her best here with a stellar vocal performance and various epic builds. The outro unwinds the song (and the EP) expertly, as the tempo gradually slows to a crawl and the listener is left with one last rolling guitar lick and synthesizer swell to put a bow on this brief but captivating EP.
Junk of the Heart is a blazing roller-coaster ride through Plapinger’s mind that’s over just as soon as it begins. There’s a notable disparity in quality between “Falling to Fall” and the other three tracks, but the others more than justify Junk of the Heart’s existence. It’s a fun, brief listen that synth-pop fans should keep in mind the next time they need something new to listen to.