I noticed a few things right off the bat about the new CD from !!!. First of all, there’s a sticker on the cover explaining the correct pronunciation of the band’s name ("!!! is pronounced Chk Chk Chk … or any other three repetitive sounds"); secondly, you really have to hunt to figure out that the disc only has two songs on it (and only one if you take into account that the second is just a remix of the first). Despite the fact that !!! tries to be enigmatic, it becomes very clear from the moment you pop the disc into the changer that this band is concerned with one thing only: getting our bums grooving. And they succeed so well that !!! may be one of the most important "indie" bands working today.
!!! seems to have accomplished the impossible: making it "cool" for jaded indie scenesters to dance. Where the Baldwin Brothers (the TVT recording act, not the famous actors) push the lounge groove, !!! slips in a bridge that’s basically a straight-ahead indie-rock song about halfway through the nine-minute track. And after nine minutes, I was left thinking that the song wasn’t long enough! Methinks a revolution may be in the works.
"Everybody cut … and shake that butt!"
Unlike their dance counterparts in the electroclash movement, !!! grounds itself in the realm of organic instrumentation, creating a feel in "Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story)" that recalls the swing and sass of the Ohio funk explosion of the 1970s and invokes the vibe of Motown. Call it dance music for music geeks that will appeal equally well to fans of acid house and Euro pop — !!! sounds wonderfully British. And like their British counterparts, such as the Streets, they don’t hesitate to put in a little message with their rump-shaking: "Here’s a message to 2 U Rudy & U sir, Mr. Bloomberg & the rest of U ties2tight dudes / Y’all could learn a lesson, by losing inhibitions"
WE INTERRUPT THIS REVIEW TO BRING YOU THE FOLLOWING SCENARIO INSPIRED BY THE ALBUM BEING CRITIQUED:
My boyfriend bartends at a suburban Chicago hotel that’s a hop, skip and jump away from the airport (and we’re not disclosing which one). He’s also a musician, and every night, he’s subjected to the satellite music piped into the bar. We’re talking light-rock pabulum, T.A.T.U. if the satellite programmers are feeling frisky.
The type of people who frequent this establishment range from the bizarre to the sad, business travelers interspersed with regulars, bleach-blonde bubbleheads there for a bridal show to a crew of South Side musicians. Perhaps the piped-in music is best for a crowd such as this; can you imagine the selections if there were a jukebox? I can see it now: Alabama, followed by Cher, followed by Mr. Bungle. I shudder to contemplate.
After listening to !!!, though, I was struck with the rabid desire to set up a deejay booth and see what happens when you play a song that’s 126 BPM (information helpfully provided on the disc, no less) and undeniably groovy. I have hopes, and the inkling, that the suburban airport oasis would have turned into one big cosmic love hour.
WE NOW RESUME OUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING.
Unfortunately, !!! took a misstep by including a remixed version of "Me and Giuliani." The cut, saddled with the name "Intensifieder — Sunracapellectroshit Mix 03," doesn’t add a damn thing. The remix detracts from the original song’s groove and proves the point that just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
So. One song. But it’s enough to make me salivate in anticipation of a full-length.