ALBUM REVIEW: !!! - Strange Weather, Isn't It?





Since 2007's breakthrough Myth Takes, a lot has changed for Brooklyn dance-punk band !!!, audibly known as “chk chk chk.” Firstly, original members Justin Van Der Volgen, Tyler Pope and John Pugh left the group to concentrate on their new project under the moniker Free Blood. Then, in November of 2009, former drummer Jerry Fuchs died in a tragic elevator accident. It's unfortunate to note that the band's original drummer Mikel Gius also died young in a car accident three years prior. For an ensemble that is known to be one of the most rambunctious and funnest live acts out there, they sure have been through a lot.

!!! is a collective famous for their rowdy, balls to the wall demeanor and infectious, percussion friendly disco punk. While the outfit's fourth proper LP, Strange Weather, Isn't It? maintains that familiar obstreperous ambiance, it also has jazzier, more serene moments. Recorded primarily in Berlin, Strange Weather, Isn't It?, like its predecessor, can be unpredictable. Funky pop anthems like “AM/FM” and “The Most Certain Sure” are upbeat and radiant while songs like “Hollow” and “Jump Back” employ darker dance-punk afro beats in traditional !!! fashion. Frontman Nic Offer is known to experiment with different genres; in addition to combining brass with heavy punk guitar riffs and heavy drum sequences, Strange Weather sees him dabbling with more synths and electronic infused sounds, noticeably on album closer “The Hammer.”

Strange Weather is a transitional record for Offer & co. There isn't a single song as hard hitting as previous singles like “Yadnus” or “Must Be The Moon.” Grooves like “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass” and “Steady As The Sidewalk Cracks” make you feel like a climatic, jaw-dropping dance sequence is creeping up on you but for once, this is not the case. It eventually becomes clear that this is an LP meant to inspire chilling out rather than going ape-shit crazy on the dance floor. While 2007's boisterous Myth Takes is comparable to Battles or Holy Fuck, Strange Weather, Isn't It? is a step down from the trip rock scene; a record focused on consistent melodies rather than the usual ear-splitting head bangers. Produced by LCD Soundsystem contributor Eric Broucek, the album shares a keen resemblance to James Murphy's acclaimed dance-punk project. Though it's been a tumultuous last few years for !!!, they haven't let it phase them artistically. They've released a profound and mature record in Strange Weather, Isn't It, easily their most likable LP to date.

75 — [Rating Scale]