Album Review: Lynks – ABOMINATION

[Heavenly Recordings; 2024]

Lynks is a busy person. Shooting onto the scene back in 2020 with their breakout Smash Hits, Vol.1 EP, they gained attention and adoration for their exuberant and impressively choreographed live shows performing music that was a funny barb against heteronormative culture as much as it was a triumphant celebration of queer love and joy. As they say themselves, “I got a lot of gigs / Being a singer/model/fucking religion,” so if the masked London artist seems in a rush then you’ll excuse them for focusing on taking steps up the ladder of notoriety.

As busy as Lynks is, they didn’t take that as an excuse to phone in their long-awaited debut album, ABOMINATION. Self-written and self-produced, Lynks takes full creative control, which in itself feels like an important move to be celebrated: a queer artist making the music they want to make without compromising on their own brand of humour or musical direction. It’s a sometimes salacious, sometimes celebratory, sometimes sensitive journey through modern day queer culture, touching on hookups, insecurity, and the fickleness of fame. Put neatly, it’s an imperfect but impressionable, direct and often amusing debut.

And ABOMINATION is pretty damn funny. Lynks has a way of finding a target and poking holes in it with humour – even if that target is themself. “’I don’t wanna be on my deathbеd / Wishin’ I’d got more head / Beforе the lines start appearing on my forehead,” they confess on opening track “USE IT OR LOSE IT”, revelling in what they call “empirically the hottest year of my whole life”. Come the following track “NEW BOYFRIEND” they’re trying (and failing) to break free from an ex, rallying themself to say “Friends don’t give each other head”. Later on on “LUCKY” they’re applauding the fastest sperm that began their creation, calling the moment of their conception “the one race that I have ever won”.

While ABOMINATION is part self-reflection, the album’s title and underlying theme is of addressing shame impressed by external forces. The title track is preceded by an excerpt of a priest harking against homosexuality by quoting lines from the Bible; afterwards Lynks lets loose on the church and their own supposed damnation, owning his fate, calling out hypocrisy, and ultimately siding with the devil. The track draws attention to the titular word ABOMINATION too, one that “most straight people don’t have an association with”; for queer people it’s loaded and follows them around their whole lives thanks to the infamous verse spoken on “LEVITICUS 18”. A few songs later “LYNKS THINKS” rallies against the haters, channelling an anthemic chant of pride and community: “You think that you were loud but we’re louder / You think that you were strong but we’rе stronger.”

Where the album falters is Lynks not leaving quite enough on the cutting room floor.  ABOMINATION is consistently catchy (especially in its first half) but there are moments here that feel like skits that are needlessly dressed up. “I FEEL LIKE SHIT” addresses mental health decline alongside the voice of a robotic female therapist, but its extended scream feels like a rehash of Wet Leg’s “Ur Mum”. The innuendo of “CPR” runs out of steam pretty quickly while aforementioned “LUCKY” doesn’t really say anything original about how fortunate it is to be a queer person alive in this day in age (the shoehorned lyrics into the monosyllabic delivery doesn’t help it either). As funny as the best lines are here, they wear thinner with each listen.

Thankfully Lynks has a knack for an earworm melody, and even if you know the punchline you’re still likely to have the album’s best songs circling in your head. “(WHAT DID YOU EXPECT FROM) SEX WITH A STRANGER” is club ready, sweaty and fluorescent; “TENNIS SONG” is purposefully a little twee with its ping pong drum track as Lynks sounds akin to Kevin Barnes with his falsetto harmonies; and “SMALLTALK” is like the Presets on steroids, all sleazy, grimey synths while also touching on some Frankie Goes To Hollywood influence. “ABOMINATION” is the album’s highlight, a gothic-tinged R&B hit that turns oppressive language into a chorus (and that was “written before Sam Smith and Kim Petras released their take on the concept, thank you very much” Lynks is keen to point out).

It’s no surprise that overall ABOMINATION is a busy album. It’s bulging with ideas, references, jokes, and critical evaluation. Its second half especially veers into more experimental territory for Lynks, trying out scratchy guitar fuzz as a backdrop (“ROOM 116”) or extended time to venture through a variety of landscapes and tempos (the six minute finale “FLASH IN THE PAN”). There’s a lot here for 42 minutes and as a whole the album can be exhausting – but that feels very much like a deliberate outcome. Lynks is living their best life, which is a stuffed schedule of hookups, therapy, and making the most of being in his prime. This is what being busy sounds like.