Since their beginnings nearly a decade ago, Ladyfinger (ne) has defied definition, a fact that stems not from an identity crisis but an unwillingness to pander to any particular fan base. Their sound is distinctive and consistent, walking a thin, meandering line between punk, post-hardcore, ’70s metal and the occasional nod to emo sentiment if not the sound.
This place-proud band (from Omaha, Neb., hence the “ne”) offers 10 raucous tunes on this sophomore album, fueled by angst-ridden lyrics and choppy guitar riffs backed by a rock-solid rhythm section. Drummer Pat Oakes is especially noteworthy. His hard-driving beats create a clean, staccato presence behind Chris Machmuller’s throaty vocals and searing guitar.
Stylistic versatility from song to song isn’t a strong point, but a close listen reveals a range of themes. “A.D.D.” explores childhood’s trials, amped-up ballad “Plans” sincerely laments a love that “never went anywhere…just disappeared,” and cynical “Let’s Get Married” suggests if “you can pretend that you want me around, then we should ignore all the facts and get married.” The album’s gem is “Little Things,” a melodic, radio-ready tune that will appeal to listeners from all of Ladyfinger (ne)’s many genres.
Ladyfinger (ne) plays The Other Side Saturday, March 7, at 9 PM with Little Brazil and 1090 Club. $7.