!!! (Chk Chk Chk) – Shake the Shudder
Longstanding NYC disco-punks !!!’s latest effort feels somewhat out of place when caught rubbing shoulders against the peculiar bounce of modern diasporic rhythms one might hear on the dancefloor in 2017. In a flash we're thrown all the way back in time to 2006, before global financial crashes, before Facebook, before Nu Rave was even a twinkle in James Righton’s eye.
Shake The Shudder is a nostalgic trip back to that time, an escape from the hell of now. The dancefloor has come to be recognised as space for creating radical ideas through social inclusion, but here !!!’s sound wants to transport us a decade into the past rather than look to the future for answers, and as a result falls short of radical, crashing head first into apathy.
The album’s nitid production weighs down heavily, so much so it induces a fair few flinching moments. Dancing Is The Best Revenge (although well-meaning) comes across as patronisingly trite, but in other places their methods are triumphant – particularly with opening track The One 2, which could easily be a contender for dance anthem of the summer. What r u up to 2day? feels like a mash-up era smash-n-grab of Aphex Twin’s Window Licker mixed with a little bit of Chic. Its infantile off-key vocals and funk licks produce a mid-album highlight, which raises hopes just a little bit… for now anyway.
The euphoric choral verses in Throttle Service do their best to represent the optimism and utopian ideals that this record tries to put across. 'Sometimes music is all you got', a line which will probably have us letting my hair down for 5 minutes at Primavera this year.
It’s unfortunate, but this awkward inconsistency makes Shake The Shudder reminiscent of a night out where, at half past 11, you realise that Red Stripe does in fact taste like shite, and you'd be better off tucked up in bed listening to Spotify. Which probably says more about the state of the world right now than !!!’s brand of recumbent grooves.
Listen to: The One 2, Throw Yourself in the River, Throttle Service