Black Dice - Broken Ear Record

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:2005-09-19

Signed to EMI as part of LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy's deal to bring the entire roster of his DFA Records imprint with him in the indie-to-major leap, Broken Ear Record confirms New York experimentalists Black Dice to be one of the most out-there outfits working in popular music today. Luckily, however, unlike its predecessor--2004's messy, unfocused Creature Comforts--most of this album's experiments go off with an enjoyable quantity of smoke and fumes.

The opening "Snarly Yow" starts from an abstract base, scintillating arcs of sound bent through a complex network of delay pedals, and intersected by seemingly random javelins of feedback. Gradually, though, a certain rhythmic sensibility makes its presence known through the neon smoke of tracks like "Smiling Off" and "Street Dude"--albeit, a sensibility shaped more by the rolling percussion of jungle primitives than any traditional Western rock idiom. Black Dice are at their prettiest on the closing "Motorcycle", a loping disco strut accompanied by tangled wisps of guitar and strange, demi-human yelps. By no means will it makes sense to the casual LCD fan, but adventurous listeners hungry for something different would do well to dive right in.--Louis Pattison

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