Northern Spy / Dull Tools split release.
Scrofulous noise rock caterwauling from this Brooklyn bunch, continuing to streamline their corroded Sonic Youth / Liars influenced corroded scuzz for this fourth record.
It’s a dense jumble, a truck full of junk that’s just about holding it together before collapsing, tying together laconic explorations with stubborn and grumpy rhythms. Rock is a pretty codified game these days but Justin Frye’s band of freaks do their best to inject some adrenaline into its twitching corpse.
Saxophone, tapes and piano expand the usual guitar, bass and drums palette to give sonic diversity – check out the apocalyptic sax wails on First Wave Back, which add a pleasing No Wave dissonance to the clamour, or the dread stomp of Public Shrine for a real hit of zonked-out drone.
On Baby’s In The Backroom, an acoustic guitar is thrown into the mix, its scything downstrokes set against a blanket of mewing feedback. But if you’re hoping for some singer-songwriterly mellowness, don’t bother – it’s about as relaxing as two sheets of metal scraping together. World-weary vocals and stumbling wriggles of slide guitar complete the rattling construction.
The teeming, raw-edged sound that defines this record is partly a result of the group’s unkempt, let-it-all-hang out aesthetic, as demonstrated on tracks like Paper Song (Dig) with its lurching, distorted groove, but also due to Frye expanding its core line-up with all manner of local musicians to add to its deliberately jerry-built charm.
But it’s the sheer force of will that’s more impressive, a dogged intent to keep the broken down old truck pushing along the road, whatever it takes. On the opening seconds of first track, Odd, the bands own instruments seem to be howling out in pain, the band kicking them into life to stomp through a sluggish jam as Frye and drummer Shannon Sigley’s vocals chant a fatigued mantra.
A superior art-rock record. Serve nicely charred.