Lever is the first band that AMPLIFY. has covered twice, and that’s because their latest EP is so damn good that it is firmly believed everyone should know about it.
Something that’s so special about Lever is their ability to yield immense amounts of sonic power within all of their musical work. They are simply a band that is consistently strong, regardless of all else. Their work contains one of the most significant characteristics of rock ‘n’ roll that has made it so alluring for decades, which is intent. There’s an element to their work that makes it sound incredibly purposeful and precise, and this is something that is found within every facet of their work. Whether it be the stylistic and tonal variance in the vocal work, the thunderous drumming, the resonant bass lines, or the snarling electricity of the guitars, Lever contains the innate ability to play with an audibly detectable intent. This is a skill the band exuded via the release of 2015’s Hover Bored, and has since only become magnified upon the release of Ms. Lead.
One of the most impressive aspects of Ms. Lead as a whole is its ability to combine deep lyrical realism with musical force. Often time, linguistically cerebral songs are accompanied by slow, sleepy melodies – something Lever delightfully circumvents, thus proving that a song can still rock harder than all hell while still being incredibly thought provoking. “Brainwashed” is a track that immaculately encapsulates this. It kicks off with a subtle grit that later builds and explodes into a sound that can only be described as welcomely ferocious and robust. Each and every musical element is entrancingly authentic, hence embodying a rawness that has been the hallmark of every great rock song that has withstood the test of time – as all of Lever’s work surely will. The lyrics, which focus on the state of the world and an overarching lack of substance within it, tap directly into the epicenter of the soul. Every note, chord, and lyric sounds as if it is delivered with conviction, highlighting an undeniable skill Lever possesses as a musical entity – they know what they’re doing. Through “Brainwashed” and Ms. Lead as a whole, this is absolutely apparent.
Worth mention is “Lay Low (Shouting Distance),” a track that shoots draggers and drips the most delectable kind of venom. Its rich and resonant nature is like a gradual burn, growing in power and intensity with the passage of time and ultimately resulting in its metamorphosis into a forceful blaze, taking on a complete life of its own. The rhythmic interplay between the bass and drums is entirely alluring, giving the track both an eerie edge and acute magnificence.
“The Nerve” masterfully blends light and dark tones, with jaunty verses that are stylistically juxtaposed by the heavy musical intensity of the chorus. An intriguing aspect of this duality is the smoothness in which these dynamic transitions are executed, with both the vocals and the music alike altering effortlessly and quickly. The track ends with a masterful musical interlude that serves as the ultimate hybrid between both of the primary contrasting elements, complete with wailing guitars and grandeur drumming.
The act of bands trying to “grow up” by swapping out electric for acoustic and penning sleepy lyrics manifests all too often. With Ms. Lead, Lever proves that it is entirely possible for sonic maturation to occur without a loss of luster or grit. Before the release of Ms. Lead, Lever was already a band that knew how to skillfully rock hard and create musical content that commanded the attention of the ear. The EP possesses a level of self-awareness in the sense that the band was able to increase their artistic strengths to reach an even greater magnitude – thus proving that Lever is an innately driven group of musicians who pushed themselves to expand and build upon all they already did well. With Ms. Lead, Lever has successfully topped themselves.