When they’re not busy drumming for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, making glorious noise with Ex Models, or studying graduate-level engineering, Brian Chase, Zachary Lehroff and Jeannie Kwon moonlight as the Seconds — a no-wave trio bent on burrowing into your gray matter through vocal and instrumental repetition.
Picking up where the band left off five years ago with its debut, Y, Kratitude is dense, urgent and filled with inherent contradictions. Melody is at most an afterthought: Both Lehroff and Kwon play off Chase’s driving percussion with rhythm-heavy, repetitive, chugging riffs. Despite the lack of tunes to carry the songs, there’s a subversive catchiness to be found in the pulsing onslaught, effectively producing a sound that’s at once challenging and accessible. The vocals are the same way. Meaning is sacrificed for phonetics as simple phrases are reiterated not because of what they express but because of how they sound. On the surface, this may seem to strip the album of its humanity. But as the Seconds likely well know, communication breakdown is, tragically, all too human.