Lynks 2024
Photo: El Dodds / [PIAS]

Lynks Balances Swagger and Self-Doubt on His Catchy Debut

ABOMINATION has a secret weapon: Lynks’ ear for catchy musical hooks. It’s a rollicking record that’s equal parts swagger and self-doubt.

12 April 2024

Lynks has been bubbling under in the London club scene for a few years and has released a handful of EPs, so he isn’t a new artist. ABOMINATION, though, is his debut full-length. It’s a rollicking record that’s equal parts swagger and self-doubt. Lynks has a lot to say about being gay and horny in London, but he also has a lot of anxiety about being gay and horny in London. Presenting these stories over 1980s, industrial-inspired music makes it sound upbeat and entertaining, even when the subject matter doesn’t quite match.

Opener “Use It or Lose It” begins with Lynks rapping about how he’s 24 and it’s “empirically the hottest year of my whole life”. Lynks talks about how he’s going to get the contact info for as many hot boys as he possibly can. Underneath all the boasting, though, moments of self-doubt creep in. “I’ve heard youth is wasted on the young, so I gotta / Use my youth quick while I can still attract a love.” A simple electronic beat drives the song, along with a buzzing bassline and moments of high-end pizzicato strings. Then the surprising chorus hits, where the artificial TikTok voice chants “Use it / Or lose it” repeatedly. A later verse brings the anxiety to the fore, where Lynks admits, “And I still don’t know what it means to be a gay man over age 40 / Unless I’m Ian McKellan or Graham Norton.”

Musically, “Use It or Lose It” is a well-calibrated track. The music is catchy, with enough intriguing elements to keep the song from getting repetitive, while the lyrics spell out the reasons behind the outwardly confident swagger. Every song on ABOMINATION is not quite so carefully balanced. “Tennis Song” is a charming little track with basic childlike keyboards and a tinny beat. Links tells the simple story of becoming obsessed with playing tennis after seeing how good the coach looked in his tiny white shorts. He immediately loses interest after a few weeks when it turns out the coach has a girlfriend. “CPR”, on the other hand, is not so charming. There’s little more than its awkward double entendre, “Oh, I need CPR / On my chest, press down hard.”

“What Did You Expect (From Sex With a Stranger)” has a title that says it all. Lynks recounts his trip across town to have anonymous sex with a random man (“Know his weight, know his height, don’t know his name”) and his excitement and anxiety. Links admits early on that “having sex with a stranger is rarely a positive act for me”, but that doesn’t stop him from going. He has doubts to the point where he tells a friend to call the police if he doesn’t text by 10:00pm, but that doesn’t stop him from going. That all takes place over a driving electronic beat that never lets up but somehow has the effect of changing from upbeat to tense as the song continues despite remaining static.

“Abomination” rides along on wobbly sub-bass tones and disco hi-hat while the chorus adds a chirpy old-school video game-style synth. The chorus also features Lynks singing the word “Abomination”, one of a handful of times on the album when he legitimately sings. The song’s introduction is a reading of Leviticus 18, after which Lynks says he’s been taking abuse from religious types since he was 11 years old. He hits his point in the refrain, where he repeats, “You make me wanna be unsacred…I’d rather make a deal with Satan.”

Lynks balances humor and self-confidence on “Lynks Thinks”, a track that also uses low sub-bass and chirpy high sounds. The refrain is a series of boasts, like, “You think that you are loud, but we’re louder / You think that you are strong, but we’re stronger.” The claim, “I’m a freak in the sheets / And a freak on the street / Basically, I’m a freak constantly,” legitimately made me laugh the first time I heard it.

The album wraps with “Flash in the Pan”, which starts as a bright, mid-tempo synthpop track where Lynks sings a chorus, “I thought I was the next big thing / But it turns out / I’m just a flash in the pan.” After 90 seconds, though, the song completely changes, picking up speed, dropping the hookiness, and bringing the rapping back. That chorus does return, though, altered to fit with the second style. “Flash in the Pan” is easily the most musically ambitious song on ABOMINATION, and it’s interesting to hear Lynks do something genuinely different than the rest of the record.

ABOMINATION has a secret weapon: Lynks’ ear for catchy musical hooks. “Lucky”, for example, has a xylophone riff and a falsetto chorus that are absolute earworms. “Room 116”, on the other hand, uses a simple distorted synth riff to provide the hook while Lynks talks about trying to pick up a random guy in the bar. Lynks’ personality and lyrical prowess carry the record, but the hooks make the album so relistenable.

RATING 7 / 10