Album review: !!! - 'Strange Weather Isn't It?' (Warp)

Usually exuberant punk-funkers take the straight and narrow on fourth record

Album review: !!! - 'Strange Weather Isn't It?' (Warp)

7 / 10 If you’ve ever seen [a]!!![/a] live you may recall lead singer [b]Nic Offer[/b]’s flailing, psychedelic worm-like stage presence as a defining feature of their eccentric, otherworldly funk. Tempering this propensity for bendable, poseable disco prog, [b]‘Strange Weather…’[/b] returns as a more disciplined, ziggurat kind of groove odyssey, where the modular sounds are rhombus and the emotional undercurrents darker and more demure. Perhaps it’s the effect of recording part of this album in Berlin, the monolithic city of formulaic, angular, austere grey; one with a thriving, pneumatic underground trance scene of its own. Or it could be down to the experiences of losing members throughout the recording process (such as vocalist and drummer John Pugh), not to mention the tragic death of drummer Jerry Fuchs, who fell down a Williamsburg lift-shaft last year. Whatever, the cause and effect are only echoed as vague memories through the straight density of [b]‘AM/FM’[/b] and [b]‘The Hammer’[/b], which decimate rather than disentangle. Perhaps we’ll look back on this as [a]!!![/a]’s ??? record.

[b]Alex Hoban[/b]

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