When !!! released "Me and Giuliani Down By the Schoolyard (A True Story)" last year it seemed to exemplify the very limit of what punk-funk could be without going beyond it. Underground music historians of the future will surely use the track to sum up the extremely brief fad that seemed like it would keep rock kids and beat-heads dancing together forever — or at least for three months in Brooklyn.
Now that Williamsburg just wants to sit down and sway to the sounds of acid casualties (see Black Dice and Devandra Banhart), a record like Louden Up Now already feels like an artifact. Even stripped of its associations with a bygone musical trend, it doesn’t hold up. The songs on the first half of the album change at an unprecedented pace, never letting a groove play out long enough to keep anyone but those who have Adderol prescriptions for legitimate reasons engaged.
When !!! finally locks into a deep disco bass line on "Shit, Scheisse, Merde Pt. 1," it’s marred by Nic Offer’s Midnight Vultures-esque vocal delivery and inane lyrical content: "Shit, Scheisse, Merde/ All you fucking squares better say your fucking prayers." Most of the tracks take on current political issues with tired playground taunts such as "U can tell the president 2 suck my fucking dick," guaranteeing that a post-Bush listening will be wholly ineffective.
Louden Up Now is full of good ideas and solid references to disco, old-school hip-hop and ’80s pop. But they attempt to drown the overt nature of their influences by refusing committal to song structure. This method adds up to aimlessness rather than subtlety. The best moment on the record is the single that gave them a name in the first place. Best stick to picking fights with the former mayor — the president seems to have stolen your sack lunch.