The C.I.A. - Surgery Channel Music Album Reviews

The C.I.A. - Surgery Channel Music Album Reviews
Ty and Denée Segall, along with the Cairo Gang’s Emmett Kelly, refine their abrasive sound on a record that writhes, swells, and undulates like the belly of a serpent.

Ty Segall has spent the past 15 years building a vast discography of solo releases, side projects, and genre experiments branching into familiar yet distinct phenotypes of the California auteur’s strummy rock’n’roll. The C.I.A., however, is an outlier within the Segall-verse, expanding his scope rather than filling gaps. Formed in late 2017 by Ty, wife Denée Segall, and the Cairo Gang frontman Emmett Kelly, the trio emerged with a unique amalgam of threadbare electronics, tinny bass, and Denée’s snarling spoken word. While their 2018 debut occasionally drowned in its own marinade of squelching reverb and unbridled feedback, Denée’s charisma and the band’s playful rhythms dredged a solid record out of its still-forming ethos.

Returning five years later with Surgery Channel, the C.I.A. ditch the cavernous echo and zero in on the whirring, abrasive textures of a well-oiled torture device. It’s an upgrade in every sense, hitting harder and delving deeper into the band’s flickering modular synth work while cleverly detouring from their established post-punk blitz. Though the majority of Segall’s releases are identifiable by their twangy barre chords and distorted leads, no member of the C.I.A. wields a six-string guitar. Instead, Ty and Emmett both primarily play bass, splicing fragmentary riffs and gurgling bits of atonal synthesizer atop bare-bones drum machine loops.

There’s little in the way of melody on Surgery Channel. Instead, the band forms a curtain of fuzz that writhes, swells, and undulates like the belly of a serpent. Denée’s writing works in the same vein, communicating through quick rhythmic pulses. She layers disjointed phrases in a brusque fashion that’s opaque yet impressionistic, as if she’s covering a canvas in black paint and drawing attention to each brushstroke. After a brief salvo of hollow snares on “Better,” she conjures a series of images like an overstimulated brain scrambling to process its surroundings. “A flush within/A red upon the skin,” she mutters before offering herself empty consolation each time she reaches the chorus: “It gets better, it gets better, it gets better.” The band’s wriggling low end, which resembles the sound of a groan tube, adds a sense of urgency.

Denée’s range as both a writer and performer has expanded over the past decade, evolving from a garage-rock yawp to a more sinister, assured presence. On “Inhale Exhale,” she barks like a drill sergeant, while on “The Wait,” she bounces between a whispered verse and growled chorus that sounds downright inhuman against a short-circuiting bassline. Her ambitions in turn push Ty and Emmett out of their own comfort zones, especially on Surgery Channel’s second half, where the band gets creative with its drum programming and palette.

“Construct” is the surprise highlight of side two, repurposing the C.I.A.’s past studies of Dilloway-esque junk noise into a scuttling instrumental that vaguely resembles “Get Ur Freak On.” Denée’s stream of two-syllable phrases acts as an anchor for abstract improvisation, slivers of reversed strings, throttled synths, and syncopated kicks forming a terrifying backdrop. Though the more straightforward stabs at dance-punk like “Better” and “Impersonator” are catchy and effective, it’s more exciting to hear the band break from these eighth-note grooves and explore looser song structures at greater length. Surgery Channel’s closing tracks beyond the C.I.A.’s more obvious influences to carve out a niche all its own, building tension during “Under,” whose intro is comprised almost entirely of clean bass plucking, or plunging headlong into industrial atmospheres with atonal bursts of static on the closer, “Over.” Such experiments make Surgery Channel one of the most radical departures in Segall’s catalog and a significant breakthrough for the band, exposing and refining the complex mechanisms behind their murky sound.

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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.
The C.I.A. - Surgery Channel Music Album Reviews The C.I.A. - Surgery Channel Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on January 31, 2023 Rating: 5


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