It’s hard to call a band that hasn’t released any new music in 11 years “a band in transition,” but that’s what the Lillingtons are. Red Scare Industries was home to the band’s last album The Too Late Show. The same label released re-issues of the band’s two previous albums, The Backchannel Broadcast and Death By Television. When the label announced the release of a new four song EP, Project 313 many fans hoped it was the signal of more activity from the band. Indeed it was but maybe not the kind of activity that was assumed. Less than two weeks after the EP’s release, the band announced that they were signing to Fat Wreck Chords and a full-length is already finished.
Looking at the EP, which was released June 9th, it almost makes more sense that the band has a future at Fat Wreck Chords. Of the four songs on the album, two are what one may think of as a “Lillingtons’ song.” The titular track “Project 313” is in a similar vein, about being launched into space on a faulty rocket. Lyrically, it’s not overly witty or punchy really. “Rubber Room” starts with a half-step slide and chugging guitars. It’s a relentless punk song with tongue-in-cheek lyrics about being institutionalized. The track is almost an instant classic with the line “I can take a shit in the middle of the floor, rubber room.” It ends oddly, however, with a fade out rather than a hard ending.
It’s not the only track that ends with a fade out–so does closing track, “It’s On.” “It’s On” might be the most interesting track of the bunch. It starts off with the kind of blazing guitars riff you expect to hear from a hair metal band before breaking into a quick chord changing punk song. Instead of featuring Kody Templeman’s signature vocals, a distortion effect is put on them making him sound more like Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist.
Although its not clear if “It’s On” is the Lillingtons are turning over a new leaf towards garage rock revival, the song overall is not bad. The EP’s opening track “Until the Sun Shines” is the biggest dud of the bunch. It opens with a surprisingly uplifting guitar riff but lyrically, the song is lacking. It sounds like a Shit Out of Luck outtake with Kody drops trite lines like “it’s been raining everyday/I want to wish it all away.”
With the exception of “Until the Sun Shines,” the Project 313 EP is fine. It gets Lillingtons’ fans excited that the band is back together and making music but it does not give a clear direction the band is going in. There is no clear theme throughout the EP; the lyrical quality is a mixed bag. It leaves the listener with a lot more questions about their Fat Wreck Chords’ debut LP than answers.