Though no means new to the noise making game, seasoned dance-punk band !!! (usually pronounced "Chk Chk Chk") released a highly anticipated new album last week. Strange Weather Isn't It? is the fourth full-length album from !!!, who have been crafting fine tunes for over a decade now. Given the raving popularity of bands like The Faint and The Rapture when I turned eighteen, sufficed to say I have a bit of a soft spot for dance-punk in general and !!! in particular. Along with Liars release earlier this year, it's really great to see these bands still making noise and evolving as artists.
Strange Weather Isn't It? is an apt title for this album. It draws from a wide range of influences and atmospheres, featuring strange combination of sounds and beat shifts. There are ample hints of early 90s synth pop, which probably explains my weakness for it as I may have spent a little too much time at the roller rink as a kid. There are also moments of 70s glam that add a liberal sprinkling of glitter and pair well with Nic Offer's raspy guttural vocals. Seriously, the man sounds like he just spent the last six hours having the kinds of phenomenal sex most people only dream of. Choruses are highlighted with airy female vocals from Shannon Funchess and the breaks feature mad get up boogie bass lines. It's clear that !!! want you to abandon yourself to indulgences all night long. If you need a visual aid to believe me, just watch the music video for the opening track, AM/FM.
Impressively, somehow !!! make it work. What could have collapsed into a manic mess for many bands, somehow has a intriguingly cohesive feel. The album plays like a coalescing storm of funky awesomeness interpreted through the postmodern perspective and tastes of the musicians. Unlike much of their previous work, which hit hard and fast, Strange Weather Isn't It? takes it's time. The songs develop at the pace favored by dazed lovers of European discotheques, perfect if your sole intention for the evening was to blissfully dance the night away.
Though by no means their strongest album, Strange Weather Isn't It? is still worth checking out. Tracks like The Most Certain Sure, Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass, and The Hammer are solidly infectious enough to make my party mixes for many months to come. I also might suggest them for use in seducing your prospective love interest with non too subtle hip movements. Right now !!! are oh so kindly streaming the entire album on their MySpace. Go give it a listen.