Remember when disco was lame? It really wasn’t too long ago whenthe genre was subjugated to the culture-mulching bowels of semi-ironicbaby-boomer radio and VH1 retro-tainment afternoon programming. It hada defined beginning and a regarded end, splintering off into theever-changing nomenclature of club-focused dance music.
But then the 2000s happened, and from the scarred landscape of NewYork trotted out a troupe of hipsters bored with the stand-stilllook-aloof uniform indie rock had always subscribed to, and began toreconsider the synthesizers they once found hopelessly uncool. Thesebands – The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem and even the Yeah Yeah Yeahs – invited the indie populace to the dancefloor for the first time, andthe scene has never been the same since.
!!! (pronounced ‘chk-chk-chk’ for the uninitiated) is probably themost venerable of the first-wave dance-punk (or disco-punk, orindie-dance, whatever you want to call it) bands; after all, they’ve been together since 1996, although itwasn’t until 2003 that the band really hit their stride. StrangeWeather, Isn’t It? is their fourth record together, and it’s fairto say that it marks the moment where !!! has thoroughly masteredtheir craft. It’s the album where the shine of unexpectedness fadesand air-tight songcraft shines through.
!!! are still very, very fun. It’s probably the most importantcomponent to the band’s charm, and Strange Weather is enthusiasticallystuffed with tracks that seem to be written specifically to get aparty going. Primaries Nic Offer and Tyler Pope once again show theirlove for percussion, offering spiraling rhythms throughout the record- the drums are the most noticeable thing about the songs, but thereis still plenty of disco flavour with synth-spills and Saturday NightFever big-band brass squeals reappearing often. Simply speaking, thisis a hard album not to dance to.
As such, like the entire !!! discography, Strange Weather doesn’treally come to life on headphones. It’s practically a soundtrack forpool parties, clubs, and makeshift living room dance sessions. The album knows exactly what it wantsto do, and accomplishes it with grace.It’s an album for DJs; these are songs you’dexpect to be played for you, not material you’d necessarily play yourself.
That doesn’t stop Strange Weather from being easily themost ebullient, accessible, and gorgeously compact album !!! has everput their name on. And you’re not going to find nine songs thatwill keep your hips moving quite like these.