!!! (pronounced chk chk chk) appropriately named new album, Wallop, comes in like a banshee and smacks you upside the head with its danceable grooves and pulsating bass ripped straight from a fight scene in the Matrix. !!! tell you their intentions from the jump when they repeat the words, “Why won’t you let the rhythm change you, why won’t you let it rearrange a thing or two, for you?” They want you to dance and you won’t be able to help yourself.
Their opening track ‘Let it Change U’ brilliantly trickles in its opening notes with an electronic bass pulling you in with each stroke of the keys until it drops, like on the dance floors with the club kids yelling “Ohhh” the album begins, and you know this is going to be fun. And fun is exactly what Wallop is. With intricate rhythms, layered funk guitars, well-placed samples, and groovy bass lines. !!! has curated an indie summer dance album that should be played well into next year.
!!! screams hipster with its ungoogleable name, which is like not having a sign above your bar (see It’s Always Sunny episode “The ANTI-Social Network” for reference.) With the hiatus of some of the big-name groove machines, such as, Cut Copy, LCD Soundsystem, and The Rapture (whose extended hiatus is going on eight years) the hipsters have been craving danceable tunes they could somewhat sway to, and Wallop fills that void nicely. Now it’s not the greatest album by any means, but this is !!! most complete of their eight albums (Usually they’re a singles machine).
This time around !!! first single came in a nicely tied bow of an indie-pop song that is ‘Serbia Drums’. It’s different from what we usually see as a single from these guys who stand out with their dance jams. It’s also different from the album itself, with strung together dance track after dance track. Not to say that ‘Serbia Drums’ isn’t a dance track it just plays as more of a prototypical indie-pop single which stands as more of an outlier on this album and less of a representation.
Where this album stands out is when !!! are really grooving. ‘Let it Change U’ grabs you by the collar and forces you to the floor and the preceding songs do an excellent job continuing the party. ‘Couldn’t Have Known’ comes in with somewhat of a jarring guitar line, but once the rhythm and bass kick in its mood is equal to the overall feel of the album.
Wallop really gets moving after that with album standouts ‘Off The Grid’ and ‘In The Grid’, which connect into one another. The pulsating synth bass jumps out driving the first track into a head-bobbing, body jiving rhythm that’s complemented by a disco beat that doesn’t stop moving until it peaks into the second track. The bass swirls and a rhythm guitar strums out a three-chord progression while !!! warn “Don’t get too close to the other side.” I’m sorry, but I’ve already danced myself over the edge at this point. The rhythm kicks in as the song fades ending the epic dance tracks that are sure to be crowd favorites when played live.
Other standouts include ‘Slow Motion’ and ‘Slo Mo’ (which also connect) that seem to be !!! best attempt at Tame Impala with a slick bassline groove Kevin Parker could have easily come up with; although Tame has never had a deep house beat drive their songs. ‘Domino’s’ rhythmic key line drives the song as Nic does his best Rapture impersonation with a talk-sing that would make them proud. A sweet xylophone trickles in to highlight the elegance of the track and the beat keeps your head bobbing.
‘UR Paranoid’ is the most forgettable track on the record, but it does have a cool drum and bass combo that drives the song into a comfortable groove. Where the song fails is with its obnoxious singing, which culminates into a cluster cuss of a middle that goes off the rails.
The Albums closes with a couple of fun groovy songs that once again connect in ‘This Is The Door’ and ‘This Is The Dub’. They start out almost like a video game with an interesting loungey keyboard sound but as the rhythm pulses and the vocals pick up the songs bring the album to an epic conclusion, a fun end to a fun album.
Wallop won’t win any awards but it is an excellent dance record to close out the summer.