The time has come. After three EPs, sell-out UK tours, and a rapidly developing cult-leader status, the unapologetically uncategorisable Lynks – now signed to the renowned Heavenly Recordings – is ready to unveil their debut album Abomination. Ricocheting between visceral, abject shame and giddy, hedonistic delight, throughout the album Lynks takes us on a dizzying tour of modern queer culture via casual sex, references to Sean Cody, and a one-sided love affair with a straight tennis coach.
With their inspirations pinballing from Peaches to M.I.A, Courtney Barnett to Janelle Monae, and more, Lynks’ sound is something akin to a club night being thrown in a blender. Each genre touchstone here is hyphenated, and every endlessly quotable couplet takes a surprising turn. Self-written, self-produced, self-effacing and self-aggrandising, the album brings together half a decade’s worth of artistic and personal progression in under 40 minutes.
Where their earlier work employed a relentless, collage style of effects and high-octane vocals to carve a unique path, Abomination allowed Lynks the space to experiment in a different way. Here they have the runtime to explore a wider range of ideas, new vocal styles, fresh genre elements and gentle narratives. ‘I think on the EPs, I was trying so hard to get anyone to pay attention,’ Lynks jokes. ‘Early on I was like “well, every song needs to be a hilarious concept.” Whereas this album, there’s quite a few of those, but there’s also songs that aren’t necessarily funny, or they’re exploring an idea rather than being really specific.’ The result is an accomplished debut that deals in light and shade. Opening with the flamenco-tinged ‘USE IT OR LOSE IT’’ and closing with the dizzying rush of ‘FLASH IN THE PAN’, the record careens through the messy ins-and-outs of modern life, via unfulfilling one night stands on ‘(WHAT DIDO YOU EXPECT FROM) SEX WITH A STRANGER’ and a moment of sweetness with the lo-fi bedroom pop of ‘TENNIS SONG’.
Of course, queer life isn’t just pleasure and embarrassment. There are also the horrors, and the album’s second half takes a turn towards damnation. On the spoken-word ‘LEVITICUS 18’, a priest reads the infamous chapter and verse: ‘you shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.’
‘Abomination is one of those words that I think most straight people don’t have an association with. They think of it as just meaning a bad thing,’ Lynks says. ‘They probably don’t think of it as connected to religion. But every queer person knows that verse from the bible because it’s just like seared into your brain from a young age.’
It’s little wonder, then, that so many queer people lean into the ‘spooky shit’, they point out. These spaces have always accepted them.‘There’s never been a book where the devil said it’s bad to be gay, or Freddy from Freddy and Jason said it’s bad to be gay. The alien from the Alien films never said that being gay was an abomination.’
The album’s title track reclaims the idea of being unsacred or unholy – ‘written before Sam Smith and Kim Petras released their take on the concept, thank you very much’ – and turns it into a source of deep power. ‘ABOMINATION’ is a spooky little banger, filled with glitchy synths and haunting organs. A defiant, euphoric response to oppression, it pokes fun at religious condemnation of homosexuality. Why, Lynks asks, is it okay for God to love every man, but unforgivable for the rest of us to lie with just one?
To counterbalance, ‘LUCKY’, with its children’s music-box melody, acknowledges that in the grand scheme of things, now is the best time in history to be a queer person in the UK. But delivered as it is with tongue firmly in-cheek, the song serves as a reminder that not executing your gays is a low bar for a country to clear. Set alongside small mercies, like somehow being the sperm that won the race to the egg and ‘feeling good’ even if only in decreasing percentages, ‘LUCKY’ makes light of scraping the bottom of the barrel of good fortune. On Abomination, every flash of light comes with a corresponding shadow.
The double-shot closer of ‘LYNKS THINKS’ and ‘FLASH IN THE PAN’ encapsulate the dichotomy of the Lynks project – the outrageous, outsized persona and supreme confidence lit from the back by extreme vulnerability. The oldest song on the album, ‘FLASH IN THE PAN’ was written long before Lynks had truly embarked on their career, let alone achieved their success – itself belying a strange sort of confidence. With a melodic synth intro that calls to mind LCD Soundsystem or Le Tigre, ‘FLASH IN THE PAN’ comes up in a heady, bubbling rush – as if Lynks themselves is trying to outrun the perceived expiration date on musical relevance.
‘In the creative world especially, you do have an allotted amount of time of relevancy,’ they say. ‘So it’s just about considering what going for this means. The song’s quite negative, but what’s hiding under the surface is that through writing I was like, no I love this. And I’m going to keep doing it.’
Conversely, ‘LYNKS THINKS’ charges along at a tooth-rattling pace, casting aside the shame and weight of religious perception of the previous two tracks and instead leaning into self-aggrandisement. Unleashing a stream-of-consciousness breakdown of Lynks’ personal power, ‘Lynks Thinks’ is a prime example of “what happens when you give a mic to a twink”.
It’s a flash of unmitigated queer pride, casting off the weight of shame, even if only for a moment. It’s this that might best encapsulate Lynks’ gift – a determination to carry on, to see the funny side, and bring the audience along with them. On Abomination, Lynks reaches out to their acolytes and the soon-to-be-converted, and invites us all to kneel before their altar.
Words: Liam Konemann.