Straight white men are in the throes of a reckoning, my friend. From tech to construction to wholesale trade to music, women are consistently underrepresented and used as punching bags ⎯⎯ acts of sexual assault and harassment swept under the rug by companies too concerned about image, bottom lines and protecting predators. And we’ve had about enough. Just last year, 16.8 percent of all artists were women, a staggering statistic which irrefutably exposes the underlining sexism which hinders millions of aspiring singers, songwriters, musicians and producers from ever pursuing a career. But Lizzy Plapinger hopes to change all that. “I just want to be another sort of bastion of female alternative power on the radio and in people’s ears,” she told a reporter, telling another, “I’m here to assert myself – harder, louder and stronger – as a woman and an artist.”
One-half of electro-pop duo MS MR, she makes daring moves as a soloist, renamed LPX and issuing her debut EP, Bolt in the Blue. Suffocated by a toxic lover and her own swelling hunger to find an independent, empowered identity, Plapinger bends her voice as ferociously as Ann Wilson of Heart, cracking open modern complexities of heartbreak, fear and womanhood. “Don’t let me just walk away / Hearts aren’t always made to break,” she pleads in the frizzy “Tightrope” genesis, literally “ticking on a time bomb,” an unintentional threat uncaged between walls of coarse bass reverb and guitar smacks. With “Tremble,” chapped with raw fragility and one cutthroat vocal acrobatic, she strains to free herself from a relationship’s brutal tentacles, clawing at her lungs and ceasing all oxygen flow. “I know that we gotta quit, you just never see it,” she sputters in between breaths.
And she’s just getting started. “Slide” cuts like a knife (“We could’ve had the world but you let us burn / Like a curse, can’t believe it doesn’t hurt,” Plapinger swears, setting up the feverish, Misfits friction to disseminate completely by song’s unruly end), and “Bolt in the Blue” stabs, twists, torments, a full-throttle anthem about Trump in the aftermath of the 2016 election. With punk outfit FIDLAR’s frontman and guitarist Zac Carper laying down bruising incisions, Plapinger unleashes her anger into the starry cosmos. “I’m changing the tide / Like a thorn in your weak side / I’ll slowly bleed you dry,” she hisses, a promise she plans to keep. The politicizing continues with “Fog and the Fear,” a monstrous, eerily-familiar illustration of the divide between right and left. “Pull at the sutures and pieces that keep us from seeing through,” she considers, probing both sides and dissecting the most basic of human instincts. “Red Queen” then is the supreme reflection of the female spirit, rooted in her own egotism and often buried beneath the living conscience. “Can you show me some mercy in your emirate veins / And if you can’t take the truth, I can take the blame,” she accepts.
Lapinger’s solo bow is lush and wistful and violent. She destroys the glass houses, punctures the glass ceilings, curses the patriarchy to damnation. It is altogether divine.
Grade: 4.5 out of 5
Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez