!!!

As If

Warp

Oct 13, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


It's fair to say !!! have never quite fulfilled their potential. Since releasing their debut LP way back in 2001, the outfit have only shown sporadic flashes of their funk-fuelled brilliance. Too often records such as Myth Takes and Louden Up Now motored into life with taut, dancefloor reverberations before sputtering to a cold, hard stop.

This lack of album stamina has done little to dampen the band's enthusiasm. An ever-changing line up has continually freshened a sound that's evolved from rapid fire post-punk pulses to bassline heavy funk with a penchant for house music. Album number six, As If, reflects this evolutionary zeal as it whips into a frenzy of fuzzing guitars and rumbling beats.

!!!'s creative motifs are as vibrant as ever. Opener "All You Writers" is a soulful shudder, impossibly infectious and wilfully brilliant; "Funk (I Got This)" takes a deep house groove and arches heady strains of percussion and menacing samples over the top; and "All the Way" is a frenetic, synth-splattered b-boy stomp that's infested with a submerging tribal rhythm.

While that particular trio are triumphs of the floor filling kind, As If struggles to inject this urgency elsewhere. "Bam City" is a brutish punk throb that resembles an off-their-game XTRMNTR-era Primal Scream, while the lightweight Phoenix-style pop bristle of "Every Little Bit Counts" is as ill-fitting as it is tedious.

Given the band's track record, such inconsistency is to be expected. But when moments of class are peppered amidst humdrum album filler it only serves to amp up the frustration. And while there's still hope that !!! can lock it down one day, As If is just another glimmer of something that may never be. (www.chkchkchk.net)

Author rating: 5.5/10

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