Record Review - 3 June 10 2004

Sacramento dance-punk octet !!!'s 2003 EP Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story) helped bring the disco-punk craze, previously stewing under the surface, that much closer to the top of the pot. The title track, a multi-sectioned infusion of old-school R&B rhythm with danceable beats and slathered with art-punk posturing, took tried and true elements, like those found on the Clash's dub-oriented material, and made them revolutionary again.

Unfortunately, on !!!'s new offering, Louden Up Now, things have gone stale. The danceable white-boy funk and dark melodies of the 10 extended-jam tracks stretched out across this disc rarely come close to reaching the ephemeral heights of its predecessor. To make matters worse, Nic Offer's lyrics are enough to make a 13-year-old boy blush: After one of the many bathroom-stall gems spouted in "Dear Can," Offer spurts, "Does that sound intelligent?/Like I give a fuck."

There are high points like the seamless blend of "King's Weed" into "Hello? Is This Thing On?" — the latter utilizing minimalist delayed guitar and funked-up bass to create a frigid atmosphere that even Offer can't ruin. But, the only real reason to give this LP a listen is the reappearance of "Me and Giuliani," in its entire nine-minute glory. Regrettably, Louden sounds more akin to Right Said Fred than the Clash, and there isn't much revolutionary, or enjoyable, about that.