Sunday, October 08, 2023

Lynks explores a relatable scenario of a messy breakup in single ‘New Boyfriend’

There is plenty to love in pretty much everything Lynks does. An iconic figure of the London grassroots scene well before bursting onto more mainstream playlists with their brand of glittery chaos, there are few artists who manage to be so immediately recognisable on so many levels. 

They excel visually, exploring the niche couture gimp suit aesthetic few have explored; musically, in their bouncy brand of danceable quasi-pop; lyrically, in their peculiar brand of twisted-yet-relatable humour. 

‘Twisted yet relatable’ could easily be the tagline for Lynks’ latest single, ‘New Boyfriend’. It explores with darkly amusing frankness the dreaded messy breakup, in which an ex you’re not entirely over keeps returning like, in the song’s own words, “a fucking boomerang cold sore”, and you find yourself unable to resist. It isn’t pretty, but it’s real, and that’s one of the core strengths of Lynks’ musicit is about real life, but make it art.

The artistry of this single is beyond doubt, and refreshing in the way that it keeps expanding in Lynks’ new and very personal spin on pop music. They have been compared with the likes of Lady Gaga or Peaches, but it only takes some digging beyond the aesthetic to realise that Lynks is truly another beast entirely. Their sound has drawn influences from the EDM scene of the noughties and 2010s much more than from mainstream pop, a love of the stripped-down beat that has something Krautrock about it; there are sections of this new single that sound like Kraftwerk on speed, or an adult-only take on Nena. Their danceability descends directly from disco, even though it doesn’t sound, on the surface, like it. The almost-spoken delivery is another kind of relatable, in that the song comes across in places like a conversation we’ve all had, put to music. It’s another Lynks trademark, perhaps the most unique trait of their artistic voice.

It is a song that keeps building on what previous singles have been doing, adding some compositional complexity; it is a step up, for instance, from ‘Use It Or Lose It’, a track that had many of the same building blocks but was not yet quite as daring in what it made out of them. Some of the growth, or rather the inspiration, might have come from the successful collaborations Lynks has had in recent years with artists such as Jessica Winter (there is a trickle of her brand of geeky pop in the way this song is built) or Shame’s Charlie Steen (the song was ‘This Is The Hit’, and there is a very similar beat here, albeit used in a more ingenious way). Yet the flourishes never compromise the pared-down, grassroots-club feel that Lynks’ tracks have always had. Almost a counterpoint to hyperpop, this track might adopt similar aesthetics in its video, but in terms of sound it is shrewd and precise in its understanding that less is more.

The great power of Lynks is that they manage to be at the same time completely alien and utterly familiar, especially considering that this is the work of an artist whose music can’t fully be separated from the aesthetic. It is a difficult balance to strike, and the risk of coming across as forced is ever present, but the new track smoothly avoids this. Many will recognise themselves in the lyrics, and perhaps feel a pang of embarrassment; the song is an encouragement to lean into it, take it as part of the human experience, and make it something one can dance to. It is, after all, rather hard to resist that bopmuch like it is hard to resist an ex’s invitation to walk home with them.

Chiara Strazzulla


Image: ‘New Boyfriend' Officials Single Cover

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