Litany – Peculiar World – Review


Peculiar World (Time Bomb)
by Scott Hefflon

“Peculiar” might just be the best way to describe Litany. “Unusual and odd,” yet contrasting the “belonging distinctly to one person, group, or kind” definition, Litany stands alone for it’s particular mixture of elements, yet the elements themselves are familiar. Peculiar World is wonderful because it’s nearly impossible to peg, leaping vast stylistic distances with nary a moment’s warning. “Quirky” has too many jerky implications, and if there’s one thing Litany is, it’s smooth. While the tempos change, the guitar work varies from hardsichordal to thrashy (yes, straying from distortion-heavy grungy rock into metal chugging territory), and there are classical intros, extros, and bridges (not to mention the entire song called “Schubert”), the one constant is the angelic voice and layered harmonies. While lyrics like “Blow me away… to the fruit shop… to the land of mandarins” sung in wonderfully dreamy, not-quite-breathy, not-quite-drippy, female voice (think The Primitives, perhaps?) might just have one hastily write Litany off as “chick rock,” that label wouldn’t stick long enough for said sticker to smile smugly. (Ahem, sorry.) Guitarists Fran Evans and Stephanie Bourke trade actual metal riffs back and forth, a little basement-rock chugging here, an actual vintage Metallica-ish lick there, thus dispelling any notion Litany is, like, the ’90s version of a hard-rockin’ Heart or something (though “Barracuda” or “Crazy on You” might not be bad to keep in mind). Add into the mix “By Myself,” already a hit in their native Australia, which “rocks” with a less-consciously-hip rap than Poe/Jane Jensen/Ajax during the verses, and a lovely, laid-back jam with a trillion-layered sleepy chorus. But enough of trying to describe Peculiar World; if you’re looking for a band that combines a timeless rock (I hesitate to use the word “classic”), dreamy alternapop, and a refreshing ch-chunk of hard rock (not to mention a shitload of other instruments and semi-gratuitous stylistic inclusions), check out Litany.