Black Dice have always sounded like a bunch of kids tooling around with guitar effects pedals. But to some extent focussing on their approach misses the point. Yes they do belong to those legions of pedal heavy knob twiddling noise geeks, yet it’s what they do with their knobs that has always separated them from the pack. Much of Load Blown initially separates the parts, identifying three or so rumbles, throbs, feedback loops etc and then proceeds to spend the remainder of the piece integrating them to the point where they sound like one strangely twitchy mechanical beast. Arrangement is high on the agenda, even bizarre off kilter melodies occasionally spring up, as they spread their sounds across the frequency spectrum. These pieces sound like they were borne out of jams, as the rhythm is established early and doesn’ change, and elements tend to come in and out, building into a almost hypnotic intensity. It’s the ritualistic approach, building on the throb, and it works well here. Whilst there’ a certain melodic, dare I say pop element to their soupy arrangements, there’ even the odd batch of heavily treated warbling vocals on Cavenger, which echoes the cheeky stomp of their touring companions Animal Collective. But don’ expect something even remotely as friendly. Despite their increasing yen towards melodic cuteness, it’s still quite slight and their noisiness, percussive leanings and abstract repetative sense of structure never really allow them to escape their reputation for weirdness. Not that you’d want them to, as on Load Blown they’ve got the mix between abrasiveness and melody just right.
Bob Baker Fish