Review: !!! - Strange Weather, Isn't It?

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Strange Weather, Isn’t It?
Released by Warp

Super synth squadron !!! (commonly pronounced Chk Chk Chk) have hit the decade point in their career with a fourth studio record Strange Weather, Isn’t It? A Warp-released follow up to 2007’s Myth Takes, the latest record has been described by the band as created in response to a European sojourn. Berlin’s long-running tendency toward grit-glitz, which musicians from Bowie to Peaches have channeled in their work, is the inspiration for this fourth record of functional fun.

That’s probably the best way to describe Strange Weather, Isn’t It? a practiced, upbeat 11-track disco-rock record that references a range of electronica from groove to tribal house. !!! is a band known for cultivating a good time, whether you’re at their show or playing their record at a party, and on previous albums they did so with less a refined approach and more a necessity toward racousness. This time—and maybe it’s a totally unnecessary post-post-punk -revival response—it’s all just a little too sexytime vocals and Label Vodka commercial soundtrack to feel like the same !!!.

Which, in actuality, isn’t to say that it’s all bad. There’s a reason those sounds are pleasing to humans consuming alcohol in lowlit bars filled with the opposite sex: it makes you feel cool and hot. And !!! have always been good at doing that. Opener “AM/FM” is a banging first track, melodic in just the right way with a touch of atmospheric layering. From there, “Jamie, My Intentions are Bass” and “The Hammer” provide entertaining, danceable repreives. Even better than opener “AM/FM” is snare-heavy 90s-referencer “Hollow” where percussion and whispered vocal take prominence. But the record dips, despite a gutsy kick and wailing hook, with “Wannagain Wannagain” and the too-slow building and horribly named “Even Judas Gave Jesus A Kick.”

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