!!! - Let It Be Blue Music Album Reviews

!!! - Let It Be Blue Music Album Reviews
!!! were always a ray of California sunshine piercing the paranoid gloom of their dance-punk milieu. Their ninth album shows how dashingly they’ve ripened into their vintage influences.

Cut-cut-cut-cut through like the Pana-Pana-Panama Canal-Canal-Canal. One run through those 20 staccato syllables could set them pinging around in your skull for hours, but in the chorus of “Panama Canal,” a single from !!!’s ninth album, Let It Be Blue, Meah Pace repeats them three more times for good measure. Most of the music clears away so that the words stand out in stark relief, rendered even more lethally memorable by a surge of lobster-claw clicks halfway through. This chorus pushes the needle between earworm and malware as far as it’s been in bass music since “Like a G6,” and the M.I.A.-like ululation that follows has the ring of an exultant taunt, as befits someone springing a trunk-rattling new “Lovefool” on an unready world.

Now, the Panama Canal is an artificial waterway of some 50 miles between the Atlantic and the Pacific; it has a complex geopolitical history involving several sovereign nations; and if you imagine “Panama Canal” has anything to do with that, you’re so far up the wrong tree you need a firetruck. Catchy nonsense—merrily pasted up from hedonistic yearnings, political tantrums, and coffee-buzzed wordplay—has been the offhandedly definitive leftfield dance-punk band’s stock in trade since Nic Offer founded it more than 20 years ago. Their disco-pop and global funk songs, now far removed from their origins in rock, may sound like they want to save your life, but their governing register is and ever was the dad joke. They’ve stood by the form since before it was a thing and through all that came after, and this seems entwined with the unfading longevity of their goofball chic, impervious to fashion and time.

So the invocation of one of the world’s great engineering marvels has no deeper significance than you’d expect from a band whose most iconic song’s stroke of genius was that Julio sounds a little like Giuliani, and who called a whole album Myth Takes, a lisping groaner of a pun I literally just got, 15 years late. But Let It Be Blue is an engineering marvel itself. Pieced together from swapped Ableton Live sessions, it somehow comes out feeling live, streamlined, and complete. It’s certainly not the only idealized dancefloor to have been dreamed up in semi-quarantine, but it’s a sharp self-portrait of a band on its own endearing and inimitable wavelength. Not only that, it manages something rare in dance music, discovering an invisible third option between aging with grace and clinging to youth.

The dance-punk revival that seized New York around 2002 arguably started a couple of years earlier, in Sacramento, when !!! released their debut album, though they were drawn to Brooklyn soon enough. They were the Rapture before the Rapture—hardcore kids flushed with the discovery of samplers and dance music—and they shared an early bassist with LCD Soundsystem. They also had an extremely fun side project, Out Hud, that was more deeply indebted to house and electro than the disco-punk main unit, in which they raised fleets of horns and crashing cymbals for their freewheeling live shows. They were a ray of California sunshine piercing the paranoid gloom of their milieu, Day-Glo fashion hippies singing songs for pleasure instead of well-dressed men singing songs for oblivion. Let It Be Blue shows how dashingly they’ve settled into that role and ripened into their vintage influences.

All the strutting basses, pouncing guitars, steel-hooped drums, ravey arpeggios, and playful vocal samples you expect from !!! are withheld on the opening track, “Normal People,” a hopeful-sad acoustic bagatelle that may trigger startling memories of Badly Drawn Boy and seems destined for a Noah Baumbach film. But things swiftly get back to normal on “A Little Bit (More),” if your idea of normal sounds like Claude VonStroke giving C+C Music Factory a deep workout. “Here’s What I Need to Know” is lathered in trance synths, while guest singer Angelia Garcia ties a golden ribbon on the pumping dembow of “Un Puente.” The title track somehow gets from Mr. Oizo to David Bowie by way of the Juan Maclean, and it’s one of the only times that the record succumbs to the overly fiddly temptations of file-swapping projects. There is also dramatic, straightforward Human League synth pop and fantasy disco redolent of Phoenix’s Ti Amo, and that’s just the verses and choruses of “Storm Around the World,” featuring Maria Uzor.

The flashiest song might be “Man on the Moon,” a cover of R.E.M.’s borderline novelty hit in a roller-disco style with the slacker flavor of Beck’s “Loser.” Or, if you’re a real music nerd, maybe it’s “This Is Pop 2,” in which Offer spreads the patchy suede of his voice over dark-hued electro-pop, dabbing it here and there with spot-on British new-wave tics. It’s a fan sequel to XTC’s 1978 cris de coeur about the anxiety of definition, which likewise appeared on an album with a Beatles-baiting title. A litany of contradictory statements about the genre cancel one another out until one truism shines with special significance: “This is pop, and it feels like summer.” But it feels obtuse to try to analyze !!!, who like to romp around in music history but mainly use words to lure us nearer to the bouncing cones, where the bass obliterates conversation, lest we risk what’s right there in search of some deeper meaning.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
!!! - Let It Be Blue Music Album Reviews !!! - Let It Be Blue Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on May 19, 2022 Rating: 5


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