The dance-punk movement of this century has gotten so big that it seems to, at times, outgrown its progenitors. James Murphy and his LCD Soundsystem disappeared for three years following 2007’s Sound of Silver (QRO review), while Murphy focused on bringing up the next generation of dance-punk acts on his DFA label. But the LCD Sound returned to play the house this year with This Is Happening (QRO review), albeit billed as the last LCD record. Another key figured in the beginning of the scene, !!!, return this year as well, with Strange Weather, Isn’t It?. While a good dance-punk record, with moments of excellence, Strange Weather doesn’t lift or dominate the dance-punk style like !!! once did.
Like LCD, !!!’s last LP was in 2007, and Myth Takes (QRO review) took the dance-punk scene higher and funkier, injecting the most energy the scene had yet seen. Strange Weather goes slier and more subdued, eschewing the explosive !!! that lived up to the band’s name (usually pronounced “chk chk chk”). Unfortunately, it leaves some of the tracks feeling kind of forgettable by now, in this saturated environment. Disco-dance processions like “The Most Certain Sure” and “The Hammer” have nice beats, but nice beats are a dime a dozen these days. The restraint employed on “Jump Back” only removes from the piece.
“Wannagain Wannagain” also suffers from this unremarkable nature, save for a memorable chorus line from co-singer Shannon Funchess (who replaced original co-singer John Pugh in 2007, when Pugh left to focus on his Free Blood), and !!! still have some killer lines in their pocket. Funchess brings another on “Hollow”, but it is main singer Nic Offer who delivers maybe !!!’s best title/chorus line ever, “Even Judas Gave Jesus a Kiss”, which can stand up with the band’s best songs.
Slier disco-dance pieces like “Judas”, opener/single “AM/FM” or “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass” all deliver the strong-to-great dance-punk you were expecting from !!!’s return. But unlike serious step forward Myth Takes, the energy isn’t there from start-to-finish on Strange Weather, Isn’t It? – and it needs to be, to truly stand out in today’s populous dance-punk scene.
MP3 Stream: “Even Judas Gave Jesus a Kiss”