Although I never had asperations of them changing the face of music, I had some serious faith renewed in !!! (Chk Chk Chk) after they dropped their totally badass Me And Guiliani Down By The School Yard EP last year. While the second track on the release was pretty typical re-hash/remix material, the title track was a smokin 9-minute barnburner that found itself on repeat many a time. Now that I've plowed through Louden Up Now several times, I wonder why the heck I got my hopes up.
Although it's not a total disaster, I'd have to chalk up this 10-track release in my disappointed pile for 2004. At this point in the game, I'll admit that maybe I keep setting the bar too high, but I simply can't get past feeling like despite a couple production changes, the group haven't really moved much past their first self-titled release. The release actually opens up in an interesting and fairly promising way. "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Karazzee" is a throbbing opener that mixes in a touch of dub influence while "Pardon My Freedom" steps things up even more with an even stompier beat and shards of noise that burst in at just the right moments to accentuate. Lyrically, both songs are about as silly as anything the group has ever done (not that they've exactly been known for their deep thoughts), ranging from completely asinine and childish (strings of profanity in the latter) to downright hilarious (the line "you can learn a lot from taking chances / you can learn a lot from taking your pants off" from the former).
Things don't really actually start going downhill until the album hits the halfway point. The two-part "Shit Sheisse Merde" is a good attempt at chilling things down a bit and moving things in another direction, but it's also during this track that the weakest links of the group are exposed even more (the vocals and melodies). The group has always been great at wringing unique and interesting variations out of fairly standard rhythmic patterns, but withough the punch things simply flounder. From there, the album is onto the great single "Me And Guiliani Down By The School Yard" another lackluster track in "Theme From Space Island" before closing out with yet another version of "Shit Sheisse Merde" (slightly remixed and instrumental - yawn). If you take away the 9 minutes of their already-released big single, you could probably squeeze a tight EP out of Louden Up Now (the first 5 tracks are all pretty darn good), but as a full-length Louden Up Now starts with a bang and ends with sort of a whimper. Fun to filler in 53 minutes.