Los Angeles art noise rockers deliver a second album throbbing with invention and intent
The LA-based art punk quartet lean strongly towards Europe for their inspiration yet it always feels like nothing is off the table when it comes to their songwriting. Their second long player Temptation Death House is now released via Gauzy Records in the US and will be licensed through Blowtorch Records in Ireland and the UK. There's a lot of love for this band and anticipation for the new platter. So we ask - is it any good?
As any Stone Roses fan will know, willing and wanting the next album to be great is not enough. Fortunately there's been no 5 year hiatus, court cases or Led Zeppelin obsession. And the eight tracks here represent a sizeable step up from the first album as they have developed their fuzzy, buzzing, kinetic groove.
This is brilliantly highlighted on the leadoff single Temptation Death House which dispenses with Blake's guitar altogether 'because it worked for the song'. A refreshing lack of ego delivers a track which, as we noted in our blog welcoming them to Blowtorch Records, '...breaks new ground for a band normally known as guitar-wielding, atonal sonic terrorists. Built around an unstoppably sexy drum and bass groove, the song winds its way through the city like an Anaconda on its way to a guillotine.'
There have been two further singles - the insanely catchy Chop x8 (... it's a sub 3 minute adrenaline-fuelled ride where you feel like you're clinging onto the roof of your car rather than driving it) and the unsettling Haunted By The Night (...from the initial reverb soaked drums and distorted bass to the scene-setting opening line, a slight sense of dread pervades this track... it's clever, head-warping songwriting).
So the opening three tracks are the three singles so far. And it's fair to say you could pick three more songs from the album with no drop in quality. Coldplay would give their left spheres to write songs this good.
Drill Zone is an industrial slab of noise in 3/4 time - I'd love to see Mark E Smith's favourite dancer Michael Clark waltzing round a stage to this in welding apparel. Halfway through, the insistent organ, which had been rhythmically tied to the beat, wanders off in a Doors-like solo providing the brain-shifting contrast which is what is so compelling about much of the songwriting.
Master Pyramid and Clerks, Bookkeepers and Accountants are two of the more straightforward tracks on the album. The former has a great remix on Spotify which unusually is much shorter than its parent track. The latter sounds like The Killers meets The Stranglers and features a gorgeous chorus of descending chords.
All of which brings us to Inside The Coffin. If you had any expectations or preconceived notions about what this second album might bring, consider them not just shattered but destroyed in a neutron shredding particle accelerator by this track. Imagine The Idiot era Iggy Pop was collared by Ornette Coleman who said "Hey Iggy give me one of your motorik songs and I'm gonna blow some mad sax shit all over it." Hard to picture? Well just listen to this instead.
The album closes out with Bent By Satisfaction which I am confident you will be after listening to this octet of orchestrated noise, rhythm and energy. Get jagged, get baptist, get in the club.
1. Chop x8
2. Temptation Death House
3. Haunted by the Night
4. Drill Zone
5. Master Pyramid
6. Clerks, Bookkeepers and Accountants
7. Inside the Coffin
8. Bent by Satisfaction
Temptation Death House is released in the US on Gauzy Records and is up now on all streaming platforms. It is also available on limited edition cassette and vinyl on the Gauzy Bandcamp page. There will be a wider vinyl release next year with stock in the Blowtorch Records shop. We have our own cassette sampler ready to buy now with a selection of tracks from the first two albums.