debut album is more than fourteen tracks of pulverizing drums, ragged guitar, and throaty vocals; its proof that there’s life in Rock n Roll.
The Wild Lips is Billy Barros (Vocals, Guitar) and Preston Darvill (Drums), though by the huge noise they make you’d think the band is much bigger. Inspired by troubadours, punk poets, and Americana outlaws, Barros decided to pick up his own guitar - and you’ll be thankful he did. Barros channels a genuine celebration of heartache, punching out chords and singing from the gut. After a couple of iterations he finally landed on a band that works: his guitar and Preston Darvill. Darvill’s heavy hands and perfect time make what sounds like a death match with a drum kit in a thunderstorm look easy. After nearly weekly gigs around Seattle over the last year, the two brought sharpened teeth and strong arms to the studio to record their debut album, Shameless.
Shameless is the culmination of the band’s adrenaline-fueled
tear through the northwest dive scene, leading their fans in epic
"sweat-drenched sing-alongs" (The Stranger). Barros and Darvill
deliver raw energy and emotion that can be felt in the record’s
unstoppable determination. “We wanted to make the closest
thing to a live album, without actually making a live album,”
Barros explains. “Everything you hear on the record is exactly
how we perform it on stage, just the two of us. Even down to the
smart-ass commentsbetween songs.”
The Wild Lips have a talent for expanding their very limited array of tools into a finely finished product. Shameless is no exception. Darvill’s past experience providing rhythm for a variety of sonic styles - along with his 80’s big hair influences and blatant honesty - pushes the riotous duo past the barriers that typically limit a two-piece. “When it comes to our music, I could go on about the song meaning or whatever, but what means the most to me is the quality and the big sound versus what I think is shit music today,” Darvill confesses. “There are so many lo-fi bands and I’m over that. Here we are, a two-piece with a huge arena rock sound, and that, to me, is exciting!”
Yet Shameless is, at times, the storytelling equivalent of fighting for your life with broken hands. Barros says “I can tell people a sad story… and watch them dance to it.” That philosophy rings true throughout the record, with themes of shame, sex, love, and a lack thereof, lacing their way between pummeling drums and power chords.
The album’s first single, “This Might Be My Breakdown,” gives listeners a head-banging, hip-shaking view into the beauty of Barros’ self-induced disintegration, as he sings: “This might be my breakdown, I’ll admit it. I have no last resort, my mind has gone away.” That bare-all honesty burns down to a smolder on Shameless’ final song – a stripped down, running-on-fumes, finally-destroyed personal account of giving up completely – “Bastards and Broken Hearts.”
It is a suiting end to an inextinguishable collection of heart-to-hearts and hidden gems, set to arrive kicking, screaming, and sounding like a whole lot more than the work
of just two fearless sonic explorers. The Wild Lips are coming, and coming strong, with their Shameless debut, on June 3, 2016.
Shameless was recorded in Seattle at Big Sound Productions by Chris Mathews, Jr (Joonior Studios), and mastered at Blackbelt Mastering.