!!! - Thr!!!er

The band’s fifth full-length is some f!!!er and some k!!!er.

!!! - Thr!!!er

It’s more question marks than exclamation marks when you first hear about the new !!! album. Is ‘Thr!!!er’ the best or the worst album title ever? Whatever your thoughts it fits !!! perfectly. The self-styled party band have claimed that this record is going to be their “high-watermark”. So is it their ‘Thriller’? More importantly, does it match the one song that can always get people dancing at an indie club, ‘Me And Giuliani Down By The Schoolyard (A True Story)’?

This is their fifth full-length and it’s seen the band claim that producer Jim Eno told the band to forget their quest to recapture their famous live performances in the studio. Instead, for the first time, they went into the studio with everything written and a greater focus.

That’s not to say the funk (and fun) has been surgically removed. Far from it; you only need to listen to first single ‘Slyd’ - it sees the band creating their own ‘samples’ to act as a backdrop as Nic Offer purrs suggestively over rolling drums, and an ass-jiggling beat. That’s not all. Teresa Eggers and Molly Schnick provide sultry vocals and it even has handclaps. HIT.

Elsewhere the results are more varied but almost always there’s a precision here that you couldn’t really accuse !!! of having before. They zero in on a beat and don’t let go of it. The effortless swing of opener’s ‘Even When The Water’s Cold’ chorus together with Offer’s falsetto provide the foreplay for philosophical, layered climax - ‘If you in believe in love/ sometimes it isn’t.’

‘Get That Rhythm Right’ sounds like a distant cousin of Parts 1 and 2 off LCD’s ‘45:33’. It also shows the restraint the band have discovered – here they find a groove and go with it, though it does leave you waiting for the big chorus. It’s the same with the 80s bombast of ‘Fine Fine Fine’ and ‘Californiyeah’ which builds into something better than it had first hinted at.

Finding a chorus isn’t a problem for ‘One Girl/One Boy’ which seems to be crammed with about four great ones, boy/girl vocals and a catchy verse. It’s a track which could be played on any radio station and not feel out of place. It’s tremendous.

It’s the more salacious sounding songs that work – despite its title ‘Except Death’ sounds filthy, with more sex falsetto from Offer and it’s brilliant, even with a solo guitar that lasts forever. The bleepy ‘Careful’ is another highlight, featuring heavy breathing and flamenco guitar. It’s more solemn than anything else here, the comedown of the album, with talk of regrets and lines about ‘be careful to your promises’, before its rainbow chorus and robo funk outro lift it skyward.

‘Thr!!!er’, then, is some f!!!er and some k!!!er. When the choruses hit and the earworm hooks enter your brain is glorious. It’s an album which sees the band taking new sounds and crafting songs in new ways. But this tightness and restraint is sometimes to the detriment of the songs. After all, you don’t really want your favourite party band showing restraint do you?

Tags: !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Reviews, Album Reviews

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