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Skull Defekts, The – “Dances In Dreams of The Known Unknown” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

skulldefekts

Newest release (2014) from the Swedish ‘avant/hypnotic rock’ quintet. Since I’m fairly sure the band themselves have invented this dubious subgenre, I should say that to me this sounds like angular, repetitive, kind of tribal post-punk/psych. The ‘hypnotic’ part of their tag is certainly accurate. One could also say ‘demented.’ Instrumentation consists of guitar, synth, ghost catcher, percussion, electronics, drums, feedback and ‘the drone.’ Slightly accented English-language mantras are half-sung, half-chanted over clockwork krautrock percussion. Guitars are loud and distorted without being heavy, a combination of psychedelic pedal work and up-front hooks that are sometimes almost Gang of Four catchy. I suspect fealty to New York No Wave (DNA, Swans, Teenage Jesus) and there is perhaps a hint of Swell Maps here and there, e.g. t.3. Maybe t.s 4+8 sound like a more analogue Nine Inch Nails; and as much as my love for NIN is unabashed, maybe this last reference point tells you everything you need to know about how this fails and succeeds– some of these tracks are really good and energetic (t.1, 3), while the singing on some others (t.2, 5) slips too far in the direction of moody 90s rock for me to get behind. For an album hyped about the place as being dissonant and challenging, I actually found it oddly mellow. It’s mostly decent though. Better than a slap in the eye with a wet noodle, I suppose.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on April 30, 2014 at 10:38 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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