Publicist UK

Forgive Yourself


dB Rating: 8/10

Release Date: August 21st, 2015
Label:  Relapse

For better or worse, Publicist UK are going to be judged largely on two things: the unique all-star cast and vocalist Zachary Lipez’s goth-inflected baritone. The former—featuring members from across the extreme musical spectrum—offers expectations of what the band should/could sound like, while the latter quashes those expectations. And this is what makes the debut album from dudes who are/were in Municipal Waste, Discordance Axis, Revocation, Goes Cube and Freshkills so compelling. Its sound is completely unexpected.

Lipez’s voice is virtually the first thing you hear on the opening (epic) track “Cowards,” and its rich resonance evokes Andrew Eldritch of Sisters of Mercy and Wayne Hussey of the Mission UK (among others). Much of the music throughout follows Lipez’s lead down this gothic/post-punk path—the bass up front, the guitars ringing out walls of thick, chiming open chords—but frequently songs crescendo with chugging, distorted power chords and Lipez’s deep exhortations.

The most engaging aspect of Forgive Yourself, though, is the noirish, emotion-rich lyrics. Lipez’s words give the already powerful and evocative music an added depth. His choruses on nearly every track are incredibly catchy; some even border on anthemic (“Cowards” and “Levitate the Pentagon”) in a twisted, dark way. It’s amazing that a collection of musicians who barely knew each other before they recorded and had never actually rehearsed together could produce one of the most interesting, complex and, well, cool albums of the year.

—Adem Tepedelen
Review originally printed in the December 2015 issue (#134).