Whatever you call the massively-hyped dance/funk/punk movement of the early 21st, !!! has just pushed it forward another huge step. Their new album, Myth Takes, has a lot of the same raw energy that’s been shaking all those booties the last few years, but takes their elastic lectro-rock another jump step with an even more elaborate techno bounce. If !!!’s progression was a rodeo, their previous albums would be mustangs, bucking with funk charisma, while Myth Takesis a bull, twisting and exacting a more powerful amount of force into each bounce. It’s obvious that the band has grown up and refined their technique, but the essential funkrock elements are still there, making for one enticing album.
Since !!! is a rather large band (seven guys), their evolution should unsuprisingly go smoothly, the spreading out of a blanket of ideas. It makes all the sense in the world that !!! would gradually get more electronic as it has connections to the deceased Out Hud and dancemasters LCD Soundsystem. It’s hard to resist the call of the synthesizer. But it’s also predictable that in the process, the energy that drove so many of their songs past eight minutes and turned them into all-out partythrashers would become more refined. The result is a record that replaces whole layers of guitars with blended guitars and electronic filler, smooths out churning funk beats into housier shuffles, and turns rambling into tactful melodies.
From the first beat of opening title track, Myth Takes has a slyness about it that wasn’t quite there on previous releases. On the next track, “All My Heroes Are Weirdos”, they seem to corral the funksplosion that usually takes a while to exhaust into a more dense, three-minute bustass romp. That’s not to say that they don’t let loose on length, it’s just that they do it with more skill and less mania. “Bend Over Beethoven” is eight minutes long, but packed with highly-affected guitars and swirling electronics over another of their gelled boogies. !!! are becoming masters of their domain, and then some.
There are points on Myth Takes that !!! even seem to become professional MCs. “Heart of Hearts” is a basically a lo-fi Chemical Brothers track. Electronic sparks bounce along a cymbal-heavy drum riff while Nic’s party-maxim vocals intertwine with some gal’s before dissolving into a industrial electronic ooze. The low-key and clubby “Yadnus” even has Prince-like vocals in between the distorted chill-funk breaks. It’s not that !!! doesn’t sound the way they used to be, you just might have to dig deeper to find the old stuff. They’re just building on what got them here.
While some may miss the unbridled jams and all-out punk rage, !!! hasn’t forgotten where they came from, they’re just using it to their advantage. In adding more electronic elements and spreading their mixes out, they’ve found new ways to shake asses, and they’re just getting better with age.