Date of Release: 30-Apr-2013
Blissful disco-dance-rock party from the Californian combo with the willfully obscure moniker.
!!! (or Chk Chk Chk, if you prefer something more easily pronounced and/or Googled) have made a decade-long career out of playing punk-infused, sometimes politically charged, rhythmic rock tunes. Their previous album releases have made waves in indie rock circles, but never got beyond a cult following. Perhaps it was high time to take a swing at something with a little more, if not mainstream, then at least some crossover appeal. After all, dance-rock music is all the rage these days.
The magnificently named new release, Thr!!!er, dials down !!!’s punk inclinations and turns up the knob on sinewy disco rhythms. Actually, it turns up the funk to 11, then breaks off the knob and throws it away. The nine new tracks on Thr!!!er (the same number of songs as that other immaculately-produced Thriller album – surely not a coincidence) seamlessly ebb and flow into each other like a 40-minute DJ set.
“Even When The Water’s Cold” establishes the groove early, riding a throbbing bass line and a cyclical guitar lick. “Get That Rhythm Right” is the rightful heir to the electro-rock throne abdicated last year by LCD Soundsystem. “Slyd” brings some slinky house synthesizers and programmed handclaps to the dance party.
“Californiyeah” is the stand-out track, with its bouncing bass, funk guitars, and kitchen-sink percussion. !!!’s ode to California packs forty years of Chic into four and a half minutes of euphoria.
The brilliant breakdown in “Except Death” comes out of nowhere, all funky delay pedals and four-on-the-floor drums. The falsetto vocals and melody of “Careful” evoke the 1980s new-wave scene – I can’t help hearing the DNA of “West End Girls” in the mix – but the rhythm programming plants the song in the modern day. The bright and boisterous “One Girl / One Boy” also smartly tips its hat to the decade of legwarmers, big hair, and acid-wash jeans.
Closing track “Station (Meet Me At The)” tries a little too hard to be a splashy up-tempo rock song; instead it comes across more like a slightly less terrible version of New Kids on the Block. But it’s a rare blemish on an incredibly likeable, danceable album. Thr!!!er is a lot of fun to listen to on a Saturday night.