19 February, 2014

Recent Love (So I Guess I'm Into Them, Now Edition)

Kitty Rhombus, Spectre At The Feast
The last time I reviewed a Kitty Rhombus record, I think I basically intimated that this band does not make that I would actively seek out, and there’s a fairly good chance that I put it way more condescending / dickish. But, hey, Ian was OK with that and now Mr. Rhombus has submitted his band’s new record for a review, which finds me here, eating some coleslaw from the BBQ joint around the corner with the hot Jewish cougar bartender that I’d be all like “shalom, girl”, listening to the album opener, “4 O’Clock”, and digging the fuck out of it. I mean, it’s still nothing that I would actively sought out if I weren’t hipped to it, it’s still not my thing, it’s still weird and abstract in the ways that I’m not into, but there’s something to this album opener - some of the absolute storms of distortion that say mclusky and the angular modulations that say Jesus Lizard, those bands being two of my favorites and I get to use angular because that’s a ten dollar word that music reviewers use and (hint) none of them knows what it means and I figure that I’ve been doing this long enough, you know, passing judgment on the creative works of others, that it was high time that I got my pretentious Christgau on and said some dumb bullshit like “angular” when discussing a beloved and iconic Chicago punk band. The point, anyhow, is that I don’t remember Lips and Arms to be this heavy. So, let’s see if Spectre At The Feast continues to hold my attention.
I won’t lie. “Metacarpal”. Holy shit. I could fuck to this. Well, maybe not, but it’s close to fucktoable. As it starts out 70s NY art-rock / first-wave punk influenced, on a slow burn like a cigarette smoked in the driver’s seat with the window down leaving the scene, it builds up to all sorts of heavy that a lot of the “big name” acts in metal have forgotten how to pull off lately. And for a minute, I’m all, “Are Kitty Rhombus trying to be my new favorite metal band?” so now I have to proceed with caution because I remember that the last record I was all, “Uhh…” about. I’m not going to get my hopes up.
OK, so, “The Lie”… Let me eat some humble pie. I can’t fuck to this but I bet some strippers could work the fuck out of a pole to it. It’s fine and spacey with echo-drenched guitars and grooves along in an almost “Bridge of Sighs” way, employing the art of loud-quiet-loud that’s gone out of vogue the past couple years or so and really did need to come back… Goddamn, I sound pretentious. I should say angular again as soon as I think it’s applicable. ANYhoo, “The Lie”, “The Lie”… If this song is not getting regular rotation at titty bars soon, then either the universe is wrong or Kitty Rhombus are making severe missteps in their marketing strategy.
“Damage”. I’m fifty-fifty on this one.
“OR”? OK, well, remember that one time I told you all about the opening to Klute? Don’t act like you don’t fucking remember, it starred Jane Fonda as a submissive prostitute and Donald Sutherland as a near-mute detective; I forget what year but it was probably somewhere around the time Sutherland did M*A*S*H and who the fuck remembers when Fonda did Barbarella? if I were online I’d look it up but I’m not so… Anyway, it was super dark and creepy. If you get a minute, watch Klute. Then come back and tell me that “OR” couldn’t have worked just as well for the opening sequence. For real, this sounds like something that belongs either in the opening for that flick or something that was unforgivably left off of Naked City’s Absinthe.
“Gentle Shotgun”? Well, hey, “Gentle Shotgun” could replace “Damage”. Any way, this is another fine slab of punk rock with enough weirdo angles to separate it from the bins of stale bullshit you’d find at the Sam Goody. I have the notion that nobody in Kitty Rhombus owns a black ballcap or has back-of-hand tats. You can stream this song with this link.
“Circles”? Yeah. It kind of goes in them. But at least the acoustic guitar work on this is more captivating than “Cemetery Gates”. Well, a lot of things are more captivating than a lot of Megadeth’s oeuvre but hey.
“Universal Error” completely fails to grip me.
“Bite” starts off promising and pretty much sucks me back in. I mean, it was a little touch and go there for a minute. We had a big, strong start, then we had the chillax moment, then we had the iffy moment, then we had the creepy moment, then we had the “oh, we’re doing this again” moment, then we had a meh moment, then we had a really meh moment, and now we’re back at where we started. A bunch of heavy no fucking around.
So am I won over? Well, it’s like this: If you took the first three songs and the last song, you’d have a four song EP I’d probably be raving about, and the thing is that there’s more than just those songs that I like on this record; for what it’s worth, there’re one or two things on here that I’m just meh on but don’t outright hate. I’m just not down with those one or two things.
I will say that it’s a heavier record than what I was expecting out of the band considering my last exposure to them and I like this one a lot more. You can like them a lot more too when they come to the Hexagon on 1 March 2014.

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