WARP – 19th May
Driving a New York-based post-punk movement alongside the likes of LCD Soundsystem, !!!’s (Chk Chk Chk) work has always been political, but here on Shake the Shudder the focus becomes more personal and self-reflective. It’s a record which focuses on personal survival, making the best of a bad situation, staying positive, and above all encourages music as escapism. Even the album’s title Shake the Shudder is an ode to the power of dance to shimmy your cares away.
Born from time spent in Barcelona together, deeply absorbed in multiple jam sessions, !!!’s seventh LP draws inspiration from around the world; disco, punk, breakbeat, house, afrobeat, funk, there’s a touch of it all. The follow up to 2015’s As If, the album sees the band inviting more guest vocal contributions than before, with Lea Lea, Meah Pace, Nicole Fayu, Cameron Mesirow and Molly Schnick all featuring.
Lead singer Nic Offer’s vocal has that distinctive and consistent laidback drawl to it, sometimes slightly off-key as if he hasn’t a care in the world, so the guest vocals work well to add nostalgic soulful backing, highlighted in ‘NRGQ’, ‘Throttle Service’ and ‘Our Love (U Can Get)’. There are moments however which feel slightly out of place: ‘What r u up 2day?’ takes an ethereal Grimes-like vocal and warps it into the voice of a creepy child (“I can’t seem to find my toys”, she whines) and ‘Throw Yourself in the River’ also falls short, feeling dated and subdued in comparison to the rest of the album. In contrast, there’s many effective nods to Nile Rodgers in the delicate guitar rhythms of optimism filled summery house jam ‘Throttle Service’ and that LCD Soundsystem flavour in the punchier guitar riffs of highlight ‘Dancing is the Best Revenge’.
!!! are renowned for their vibrant high energy live performance and Shake the Shudder is an album which will certainly translate well in a show environment. The cohesive nature of their material shines through as many of the tracks on the album blend seamlessly into the next. The tribal percussion reminiscent of Talking Heads and tempo driven by bass guitar and drum patterns are born for a big room full of hedonistic dancers.
Overall Shake the Shudder is a joyful disco punk effort that does what it says on the tin; providing ample opportunity for the listener to let their hair down, embracing the album’s sentiment and dancing en masse in defiance.
Live: Oval Space – 31st May