March 4, 2024

Lipz made a big impression with their 2018 debut album, Scaryman, on which they lovingly recreated the American glam rock sound of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Of their influences, Kiss is the group that they have most often been compared to, both musically and visually thanks to their makeup. Despite oozing American sleaze, Lipz are in fact a Swedish band, put together by brothers Alex and Koffe Klintberg (Vocals/Guitar and Drums respectively) along with guitarist Conny Svärd. Now, with the recent addition of bassist Chris Young, the group has a more international slant. Five years on from that debut, here is their sophomore album, Changing The Melody, which delivers a further ten songs of classic glam rock.

The band have released two singles to date to promote the album. The first was Bye Bye Beautiful which showcased the more aggressive guitar-based side of the band. The trademark Lipz hook lines are all there though, and the short reflective break mid-song avoids it becoming repetitive. The title track was the second single to be released and, to my ears, it is a much better choice as a single. It’s driven by a catchy guitar riff combined with an impressive vocal performance including vocalising and layers of harmony. It’s one of those songs that’s brimming with energy and guaranteed to make you smile. Some of the credit for that must go to the production which is crisp and tight; the guitars are forceful without being too loud or intrusive and the multiple vocal lines are allowed to shine through.

The rest of the album continues with the usual Lipz focus on clever guitar hooks and tension-releasing singalong choruses. There’s always a strong melodic vein which at times verges towards pure pop. Take the track Stop Talk About, for example, which stomps along in a very pop/funk style, or Secret Lover with its irresistible vocalised hook line. Either of those two songs could have been written by Abba! Personally, I prefer those with pop leanings to some of the rockier pieces like I’m Alive which sound a little formulaic and too familiar (Motorhead’s No Class comes to my mind).

An interesting deviation from the Lipz norm is with Freak, a slow track (never done before by Lipz, I believe) which mixes some bluesy guitar and gives Alex Klintberg the stage for a more emotional vocal delivery. But, as if they are chomping at the bit, the band can’t resist speeding up the pace for the guitar solo – which is rather good but doesn’t quite fit in with the song.  A second slower-paced song, I Would Die For You, is one of the unexpected highlights. It opens and closes with sombre piano, and the glorious anthemic chorus is pure ‘80s Bon Jovi. Just when I was ready to write Lipz off as nothing more than a Kiss clone, they surprised me by writing an epic song like this!

The ten tracks last just 35 minutes and that might seem a tad on the short side these days, but it’s also a reflection on the overall production, which is lean and devoid of gratuitous fluff. With Changing The Melody, Lipz have nicely honed their ability to write memorable hook lines and have matured into something more than just a good time rock’n’roll band. Excuse the pun, but fans of the band ought to be licking their lips in anticipation.