!!! (Chk Chk Chk) – Louden Up Now

loudenupnow

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) – Louden Up Now
Touch And Go / Warp Records
June 7, 2004

What It Sounds Like:  Dance Punk.  Dance Rock.  Dance Punk.  Dance Rock.  Whimsical lyrics, dance beats from a full band, and disco guitars.

Nobody, myself included, knew what in the world !!! was when they released their self-titled seven track in 2001 on Gold Standard Labs.  I actually have owned all their other albums for quite some time, but only recently picked up that very first one.  It’s ok.  That review is for a different time and place…

Louden Up Now could certainly be considered the debut record, seeing as it was released on the much-more-popular Warp Records (and Touch and Go in the USA), so there was so more backing behind it, and it shows.  The production is tighter, and the sound overall is simply cleaner.  It’s a win as far as that is concerned in my book.

Musically, this record certainly brings me face-to-face with my limitations as a reviewer, because dance punk is something that is so easily discernible  in my head, but so strange to come up with descriptive terms of.  It’s easy to say to someone – “Take kids that play punk music, but turn them on their head and have them make a dance record and experiment a little bit”.  What comes to your mind?  It’s not EDM by any stretch of the imagination.  This is a band, and they are not DJs.  They don’t use samples.  But simply imagine catchy, left of the middle beats with various instrumentation and effects, all backed up with steady drumming and guitar riffs and plenty of keyboards.  All this to say – when I think of dance punk – I think of !!!.  These guys do it good, so start with them.  In much more popular culture, think of The Ting Tings (Shut up and let me go, hey!), but with much much much more edge and experimentation.  Don’t get me wrong, though.  The Ting Tings have released two fun records, but they sound nothing like this.

What gives them the edge are Nic Offer’s vocals and lyrics.  Introspective?  Not at all.  Fun, ridiculous, and slightly offensive at times?  You’ve found your man.  Actually, offensive is the wrong word.  There aren’t a lot of questionable lyrics on this record, with the exception of my two favorite songs which, for one reason or another, are loaded with straight-up vulgar language, especially in the likes of the super-catchy Pardon My Freedom, which is an ode to, well, simply not giving a —- what comes out of your mouth:

What the hell was I thinking saying exactly what’s on my mind?
But I won’t deny I got a dirty mouth
My mother tried / My father tried / My teachers tried
But they couldn’t wash it out
And look at me now / Up here running my mouth
I just open it up and see what comes running out

Like I give a f—
Like I give a s—
Like I give a f— about that s—

Like I give a f— about that m—–f—ing s—.

Have you completely discredited me and this whole entire blog for endorsing this song now?  I almost don’t blame you.  I’m not one for overly stupid humor or vulgarity simply for the sake of vulgarity or shock.  I never would have written most of these songs.  But hey – It’s all said in absolute tongue-in-cheek mode.   Obviously if the beat wasn’t so freaking catchy we’d lose fifty point here, but that chorus, I’m telling you…

Let’s move on to S— Scheisse Merde, Parts 1 and 2.  His delivery is fantastic.

S— scheisse merde
Do any of you squares know where I can get a joint around here?
S— scheisse merde
Do any of you ladies care for a game of truth or dare?
S— scheisse merde
I ain’t f—ing scared of no lions, tigers, or bears, oh
S— scheisse merde
Catch me singing this in 20 years at some local county fair

S— scheisse merde
All you f—ing squares better say your f—ing prayers
S— scheisse merde
But I ain’t f—ing scared of no lion, tigers, or bears, oh
S— scheisse merde
What did George Bush say when he met Tony Blair?
S— scheisse merde
He said you act like you care and I act like I care and we both stay rich
Stay rich as
S— scheisse merde

The thing with dance-punk is that the lyrics, by themselves, aren’t going to make the album, but here I am posting them like it’s going to coerce you into checking this record out.  Imagine this insanity up against so-great beats and instrumentals.  It works, I’m telling you, it works.

Hello?  Is This Thing On? is straight up disco-like, while the monster nine-minute jam of Me and Guiliani Down By The School Yard takes you on an electro-tinged journey through the outer banks of the universe.  Somewhere out there in the Milky Way or some star belt.  This beat drops, and I can see the Pillars Of Creation grooving their heads to the beat.

Get this.

8/10

If you had to listen to two tracks:  Pardon My Freedom / S— Scheisse Merde, Part 1

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One response to “!!! (Chk Chk Chk) – Louden Up Now

  1. Dance punk definitely is hard to describe. For an older generation, it’d be easier to say, “You know Johnny Rotten and his attitude? Take that and get a little funky.” Then again, that probably wouldn’t work either.

    I’ve liked everything I’ve heard from !!!, but, strangely, they’re too easy for me to forget about. Odd.

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