Standing over the dismembered pig corpse, bloody axe in hand, I came to a realization: Jesus Chryst, the second album from San Diego’s Peppermints, is the ideal soundtrack to a beautifully choreographed execution. The mostly female quartet — Lil G’Broagfran, M-Ron Hubbard, Ms. Hot Chocolate and Grim Graham — thrashes and wails like Erase Errata with more puke. That’s quite an accomplishment for a band that labels its genre as “experimental barf-y trash-rock.”
Sharing a label with other established “freaks” including Animal Collective and Ariel Pink, the group clearly knows how repulsive it wants to be and exactly whom it wants to market to. Armed with all sorts of audible bullshit, from the cleverly titled “Anxiathon” (in which repetitive mutterings bounce between “Let’s make each other more nervous” and “Dum, dum, dum, dum”) to the barely-Babes in Toyland riffs of “Yellow Rain,” the band retains underlying melody under every planned bit of disorder. Jesus Chryst ends as a noise-rock dichotomy of masculine and feminine, melodic and chaotic, straightforward storytelling and bloodcurdling screams.
So what’s the problem? The Peppermints go far beyond “noise equals art” territory; the band seems to pride itself on being intentionally trashy, to the point of being shamelessly pretentious. That said, after eight years together, the bastards can still scream bloody murder.