PUMP YOUR FIST IN THE AIR
I put this album in my car stereo for my first listen, turned up the bass, volume etc. for my first exposure to this band. Seconds into the first track, my immediate reaction was, “Fuck yeah!”. That’s right, it is that kind of album: part of the dance-rock genre that has reemerged heavily in the 21st century but without any (ok, maybe one) of the wuss ballads that certain bands have included on their records.
No, this record rolls in the same vein as LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, or the Rapture, bringing traditional rock instruments back to the dance party. This octet going by the name !!!, which is often pronounced ChkChkChk, is not going to be remembered for its deep lyrical content; however, its catchy, bopping choruses will get stuck in your head for days following your exposure to this album, entitled Myth Takes.
The band should not strictly be labeled dance rock; more like disco funk punk rock, as this sixteen-limbed outfit is too big for a label also given by some to describe bands such as the Killers and Panic at the Disco!. These guys are better than that (that’s why they get three exclamation points and Panic only gets one) and Myth Takes proves it.
The opening track starts out with fast-paced vocals taking over a deliciously funky running bass as sonic sounding guitar screeches soar above it all. Unfortunately, this track is short, not even three minutes, but it sets the tone for a damn good time, definitely a good party starter for those who throw shindigs Garden State style (ecstasy, hot girls, the cast of Scrubs).
“All My Heroes Are Weirdos” follows the opener with quirky, drum heavy, Talking Heads-style guitar licks and vocals that sound all British like. This track slowly grows with intensity and growls with passionate vocal croons. “Must Be the Moon” shows us that, lyrically, this band might need some help, as the opening line of “One drink, two drink three drinks, four, she had eyes that I couldn’t ignore,” sounds straight out of an R-rated Dr. Suess novel.
Luckily, though, the dance-friendly drums, plump bass, echoing guitar, and keyboard effects make this track extremely danceable. A harmonized chorus of “Must Be the Moon,” including the vocal breakdown at the end, pushes the track into the six-minute category, and is evidence of their ability to write catchy choruses, a must-have for DJ’s looking to add some new flair to their sets. This album rolls on with a bang, as “A New Name” with a shredding guitar line at the chorus and a vocal pattern that sounds mysteriously akin to the Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”.
The album dips into strict indie rock territory with the sixth track, “Sweet Life,” yet remains original, with pounding overlapping drums and percussion, keeping the track fresh and lively. The heavy drumming leads into “Yadnus,” which seems to steal the opening drum pattern from that pedophile Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll part 2” before sliding slightly into blandness, with the exception of some vocal freak outs and falsetto singing of the words “Fixin to Kiss Ya,” which just sound plain cool.
Do not turn off “Bend over Beethoven” early; although it starts as another boring old cut, it eventually skyrockets into an eight-minute guitar shredding dance freak-out that most jambands would kill to be able to pull off live. This track smoothly transitions into a funky, horn-driven number called “Break in Case of Anything,” which is somehow a good name for this track, as it is a little chaotic and is difficult to categorize.
The album ends with “Infinifold,” which is indeed a slow, ballad-like song without a chorus. It sounds to be filler to me, but perhaps it’s the necessary chill-out needed after listening to an overall upbeat album that could be used in place of your Billy Blanks tape for a much needed workout fat reader.
!!! will be killing them loudly at Coachella this year, and pick up the album if you like your dance with a little rock in it. The album artwork, brimming with colorful monsters, dragons, hobgoblins, and other mythical creatures is worth the purchase alone.