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Out of Africa (Alternative Tentacles)

Wednesday, Mar 19 2008

Triclops! followers expecting the local prog-punk behemoth to match the brutality quotient of its live assault won't be disappointed by the quartet's debut full-length. What may surprise some listeners are the warped lyrical genius and dynamic subtleties the band's onstage performance tends to overwhelm. Delivering a mix of hallucinatory imagery and firebrand politics, singer John Mink — aka Johnny No, to use his latest nom de punk — moves easily from poetic vitriol against American foreign policy and gross consumerism ("Iraqi Curator" and "Freedom Tickler") to surrealist odes to flesh-burrowing parasites ("Lovesong for the Botfly") and earlier stages of human evolution ("Duende War"). The band matches Mink's existential rants and heavily processed vocals with an equally varied palette. The torrent of venomous, razor-wire riffs pouring through guitarist Christian Eric Beaulieu finds balance in moments of quietude and atmospheric menace on "March of the Half-Babies" and "Cassava." Droning lows and cymbal wash create Eraserhead-style white noise on "Secret 93," which sets the scene for the next fierce onslaught by bassist Larry Boothroyd and drummer Phil Becker. Less ponderous and pretentious than the Mars Volta but sporting more indelible melodies and waaaay bigger testicles, Triclops! unleashes a cataclysmic thrill-ride in adventurous music.

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Dave Pehling


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