!!! – Louden Up Now (CD)

After reading so much laudatory praise about this band, I was quite amazed to hear that they were just another dance act that seemed ultimately influenced by bands like Apell, Depeche Mode, Orbital, and Kraftwerk. I really was not sure what to expect from the band, but “Louden Up Now” attacks every possible corner of the dance phenomenon, instead of driving itself into a rut like Fluke’s “Puppy”. Instead of repeating the same sequence twenty or thirty times in a song, !!! have looked at “Louden Up Now” both as the creative force and as fans of music, something that most musicians can’t ever be concerned with. The rich instrumentation of “Louden Up Now” provides a diametric opposite to the inane lyrics on the disc – lord knows how many times I hear “fuck” or “shit” without either of the words having any real place on the track in question.

Most of the tracks that end up veering into instrumental tracks seem to be more suited for dumping instead of being able to stand as instrumentals. This is fairly noticeable in tracks such as “Shit Scheisse Merde Pt 1”, with only its immediate follow-up (the Part II) to rescue the disc from muzak-like hell. In this 8+ minute track, there are longer instrumental interludes, but the vocals of John are enough to thrust this track into the alternative-rock stratosphere, with the dance-punk vibe pushed by the rest of the band. “Louden Up Now” starts up with an impressive vision, dragging its listener through a number of soundscapes before eventually ending. !!! has the unfortunate ability to fade into the background during a large amount of the disc, regardless of how hard one tries to go and keep focused. There are some high moments on “Louden Up Now”, such as the aforementioned “Shit Scheisse… part II”, but by and large, the disc still feels unfinished.

The production value on “Louden Up Now” is muted without being anemic, adding another dimension to a musical genre that is typically either brash or too sedate without much middle ground. Not as intense as The Rapture but also not as laid-back as Josh Wink, !!! put together a solid album that does tend to get overshadowed at times, but never due to any weakness on its own. Give this a spin if you are convinced dance has died – I have a feeling that “Louden Up Now” will change your entire opinion of things.

Top Tracks: Shit Schisse Merde Part II

Rating: 7.0/10

!!! – Louden Up Now / 2004 Touch and Go / 10 Tracks / http://www.brainwashed.com/!!!/ http://www.tgrec.com / Reviewed 19 August 2004

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