Monday, January 4, 2016

Pop 1280 : " Paradise"

Things are getting darker and weirder on the new one from Brooklyn's Pop 1280. The opening song "Pyramids on Mars" is synth driven drone, that evolves into a more surreal melody. Then they drop things down for a more lo-fi take on new wave with "Phantom Freighter" with the vocals returning to a more familiar ranting. Not as David Yow as Singer Chris Bug went on " Imp of Perversion" there is a little more Jello Biafra mix in with almost Mike Patton like vocal spasms. Not quite industrial the more upbeat "In Silico" sounds like it could have come from a Lard re-mix of "Pretty Hate Machine". The song writing finds the band in a tightly coiled chaos with the guitars going nuts on the edges of the songs. Three minutes into this one I begin to wonder how long that can maintain this kind of crazy. Bug declares that he dreams in infra-red, which is just a sane of a thought as any the drummer might be having as he assaults his kit as the song's punches have a punk anger to them.

The bass holds together "Chromidia" together with it's persevering pound. Bug chants that " pain and pleasure won't last forever"  The song swells into a heavier pulse, that might not be industrial , but it has a similar sonic slap. I finally place the twang in Bug's voice  and realize it reminds me of Gibby Haynes from the Butthole Surfers, who must be one of this band's influences as like the Surfers they maintain their identity while shifting like a bi-polar bull-dog in need of meds and ready to snap at you with no provocation. They get heavier in mood, but not in metal on "USS ISS". The synths are more aggressive than even the burliest dark wave with the cleaner tones of the guitar carrying more post-punk desperation. They dive down into an even darker place on the title track creating something that can only be described as kraut rock for a horror movie. It feels more like an interlude than an actual song.

"Rain Song" is not a Led Zeppelin, but a drunken minimalist excursion that finds Bug ranting in a bath room stall somewhere, before atmospheric effects come in to give the feel of two separate songs colliding. It's easy to call a band that deviates from their normal formula as experimental until you have heard something as crazy as this. While it might not be a song that I would ever feel compelled to revisit the fact they are creative enough to attempt creating this kind of performance art is worth something. They smooth things out for the chilly synth groove of "the Last Undertaker" .  The drums keep them from taking off in what would be the most obvious direction. When they finally give you a Bonham like beat it's all the more rewarding, before it's pulled back out from under you. They close out the album with another more conventional song in the pulsing "Kingdom Come". It hammers relentlessly reluctant to give you the powerful groove you sense they might be leading you on toward, but the tension is all in their tease. This album is likely to be unlike anything else you will hear this year. It's dark enough for me and takes enough risks to keep me happy so I'll give this one a 9.

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