Gore bloody hell! Sorry about that, but every once in a while I get confronted with having to review music which has barely anything to do with the guitar-based music which is usually promoted though this webzine!
Originally from Sacramento, California, and now residing in New York City, Scaramento, and Portland (Oregon), this “Dance-Punk” band (name commonly pronounced as “chk chk chk”) was formed in 1996 by members from several local bands (The Yah Mos, Black Liquorice and Popesmashers), and has already delivered 4 full-lengths (2001's !!!, released through Gold Standard Labs, 2004's Louden You Up – Touch And Go – and 2007's Myth Takes & 2010's Strange Weather, Isn't It?, already issued by Warp) before this one...as well as some EPs (5 of 'em) and singles (10 in total, two of which off the current album)!
Currently composed of lead singer Nic Offer, guitarist Mario Andreoni, horn & keyboard player/ percussionist Dan Gorman, horn & keyboard player/ percussionist Allan Wilson, bassist/ various electronic devices manipulator Tyler Pope (whom used to play with LCD Soundsystem and wrote music for Cake), and drummer Paul Quattrone...the band is occasionally/ frequently enhanced with various electronic devices & sound manipulator Sean McGahan and additional singer Shannon Funchess during live performances. The band has a shared membership (among which Pope) with the similar sounding but no longer existing band Out Hud. During the band's existence, several line-up changes occurred.
According to the info sheet that came along with the download promo of the album, !!! went through an evolution during the making of the new album, which almost caused the band to re-define itself. In the words of Nic Offer : “It's the kind of record that feels like more of everything. It's more immediate, it's more honest about our lives. There was a real focus in this band. We knew the lyrics had to be better, the choruses had to be better, it hadto be more original. We went for everything. Everything was pushed;”! Soundwize, the band bring a combination of (softer) dance sounds with a softer kind of guitar work (often with a soft-Funky underbelly), but what throws me off completely, is the frequently somewhat silly vocal stylings (you know, the kind of effeminate stuff one might expect from castrates...or, Prince comes to mind as well, but the music is quite different there, the singing more functional). In other words...I am not really impressed, and you sure did not find me listening to this record sitting on my porch during these last really hot summer evenings! The only track which is actually interesting enough to this reviewer, is the album closing track “Station (Meet Me At The Station”. At least, in this case there's some serious guitar playing being done, and some less silly singing done. The rest of the album is simply too tepid for my taste! I'm not sure if the more excited style is where the band comes from, because I didn't have the time to check the material made available on the band's own website (www.) chkchkchk.net, nor, actually, via the pages at Soundcloud, YouTube, Bleep and Warp, for which linx (you'll get it when you visit the band's site) are made at your disposal.