Back a couple months ago when I heard that !!! (for the sake of search engines and reference, I'll call it Chk Chk Chk) had signed to Warp Records, I wondered just how the octet group of funked-up lo-fi dance junk would fit in with the rest of the knob twiddlers on the label. As it turns out, this 2-track (and 18-minute) release gives a bit more insight to the possible steps that they're taking to change up their sound a bit. None of the differences are huge, but the most noticeable ones definitely pack a solid punch and help move the group solidly to the forefront of the whole burgeoning dance punk movement that everyone seems to be talking about.
Even though it's in nearly the same BPM as most of their already-released songs, and even though it uses most of the same elements in getting to the destination, "Me And Guiliani Down By The School Yard (A True Story)" is easily the crowning achievement of their short lifespan thusfar. The nine-minute track kicks out the jams right from the start with plenty of cowbell and a juicy bassline that's punctuated with alternating guitar stabs. Horns bust in after a couple minutes, and just about the time the track hits the middle, jangling guitars ring out as things breakdown back to the original beat. A repetitive bassline chugs back in eventually, and the subsequent explosion is easily one of the best damn things I've heard this year. Dry guitars fold over one another and build to a frenzy as vocals enter the mix again and take it all to another level.
The rest of the track plays with various riffs and takes on the original part of the track, including some goofy "do do do's" and more cowbell. The other track on the disc is a remix of a previous track by the group, and it again runs at about the same BPM and churns through some silly dance track cliche's, tossing about 4 layers of vocals over a throbbing bassline and beat with only minimal additional instrumentation. It's funny, and occasionally actually good, but doesn't come near to touching the first track on the EP. Considering their last album came out well over two years ago, it's surprising they haven't worked out more material, but perhaps they're holding it back for the forthcoming full-length. After hearing the title track from this EP, I'd say I can't wait.