Rating: B-Most folks would say there are Stones people and Beatles people. I would make that dichotomy a trichotomy and add Bob Dylan. I love all three of those, but I'm a Dylan guy. This shows up in the rest of my musical taste. Dylan's work is rooted in all of Americana - folk, blues, country, and early rock n' roll - and music with these influences speaks to me. And I'm a lyrics guy - some people just view vocals as another instrument, paying little attention to the words, but to me they are vital to the meaning and emotion communicated by the song.
All of which is a roundabout way of saying that !!! is the kind of band I normally don't have a lot of use for. The music derives not from the roots of American music but from dance beats and ambient guitar and keyboard sounds. The lyrics are at times immature and shallow, and even at their best strive for only cleverness rather than emotional impact. Take one of the album's highlights, the irrepressibly catchy "Must Be The Moon," which chronicles a club one-night stand. The song starts off dumb ("One drink two drinks three drinks four / She had eyes that I couldn't ignore") and only gets dumber ("You could blame it on the music but it wouldn't be right / 'Cause I've gotten lucky to some pretty bad tunes / Must be the moon, must be the moon"), but it's almost irrelevant when the beats are this catchy. Lead singer Nic Offer has a goofy vulnerability behind his swagger, selling the lyrics no matter how silly.
In short, !!! is catchy, shallow, bouncy, quirky, uneven, and fun.
Random notes and opinions:
- Gotta love the way the album starts (in the title track), with haunting keyboard sounds over a catchy drum beat.
- The instrumental outro to "Bend Over Beethoven" sounds like what would happen if Interpol guitarist Daniel Kessler made a dance track. If that sounds awesome, it is.
- Closer "Infinifold" is likely supposed to be an "end of the night clubbing, chill-out" track, but it just makes me sleepy. Maybe because I've just been sitting at home listening, not dancing all night.
!!! on MySpace