The Links formed in 2011 by Jordan Marola and a group of high school friends in Lafayette, LA. After a handful of shows, this lineup disbanded and the group was reformed with different members in 2013, and went through several changes during the ensuing years. To date the band have released 2 albums as well as a handful of EP’s and “in-studio” live releases, the newest of these releases being the “Imperial” EP, which has been described as “a more stripped-down and organic sounding release in comparison to the last few from the band.”
On The Links new studio EP, there is a revitalized style that takes a little time to tune into, but once the acoustic and electric wavelengths are established, it’s solidly business as usual. “Imperial” is a bit like stepping into a fairground. The voices and music swirl in an intoxicating manner.
For all its apparent stripped down exterior there is still a flamboyance, where every note is there – and specifically not there – for a reason and the overall kaleidoscope is clearly very closely designed.
It’s hard to tell how autobiographical these songs are, as they could also be based on ideas rather than specifics. But the way Jordan Marola and the rest of band interpret them, sounds genuinely personal. Marola’s voice and turns of phrase full of paradox make this an intricate, yet simple listen.
It should go down as one of their most memorable when they hang up their instruments. The songs herein are melodic and specific. Not all expert songwriters could achieve this kind of sonic quality and lyrical detail, and get both so right.
The classic indie tropes with which The Links embellish these songs, and the filtering subtlety of their instrumentation, allows through the fundamental, emotional substantiality. These are songs that simply stick. Right from the opening title track, “Imperial”, the EP succeeds, not thanks to any eccentricities, but because of its song craft, which is direct and resonating. It’s a humble, hype-less gem that initially will probably go unnoticed by everyone bar a few indie kids file-sharing, and word-of-mouth mumblings.
“We’re Not The Same” proves they are as capable of lush, sepia-singed autumn elegies as they are brash, barbed romps. In this song, Jordan Marola marries an unravelling melody and a storybook-simple arrangement with his own lyrical curiosities.
The Links understand there’s beauty in brevity; in performing songs at their most concise, stripped-down and powerful. Leaving not one chord wasted, songs like this grab you by sleeve, grin and dance you into submission before crashing to a breathless finish. Without a doubt “We’re Not The Same” is the best track in the pack.
The band do have one eccentricity included in this recording, and it’s the P.P. House mix of the title track, “Imperial”. But it’s in no way loud and obnoxious –on the contrary, it only has the beat beefed up, while retaining all of its melody and flow. “Aura”, brings a slow burning, acoustic-dominated ballad, where Marola forges all of his vocal emotion before the tracks surrenders itself to the sound of keys and strings.
“Imperial” is an EP of lilting, literate, buoyant and brilliant indie music with melodies so memorable they may as well be burned into your brain; that goes closer than many in understanding how even the most simplistic music can incite such a powerful, devotional effect.