posted 2012-04-25 23:11:34

Album Review on Mr. Impossible

Black Dice makes slight changes for their latest release

Julian Rivas

Arts and Entertainment

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As their wacky brand of noise music has fallen into normality over recent years, Black Dice manage to shake things up again with their latest album, “Mr. Impossible.” In this, their sixth LP over the last ten years, the band finds themselves engaging with the pop and dance enamored music world of today. The results make for a tighter, more digestible album that still keeps the band’s shrill sensibilities intact, qualities that made them unique in the first place.

There’s an unusual sense of restraint present throughout most of “Mr. Impossible.” Fewer walls of shrieking noise are blasted on the album compared to the band’s past few releases. “Carnitas” sustains a flitting 80‘s electronic backdrop for eight-plus minutes, while the band merely ornaments the vibe with colliding snares and demented sound effects. The fact that there are any noticeable genre influences throughout the album shows a change in direction that strays from the general tag of noise the band has stuck to over its career.

The reach for structure allows the band’s sound and techniques to breathe and gives their coarse music much-needed momentum. Rather than just playing a set of bleeping electronics and stopping them for a barrage of drums, the collection of tracks on “Mr. Impossible” progress more smoothly, at times delving into a number of genres at once. “Outer Body Drifter” somehow alternates between cheap house music and a harsher take on the odd, workmanlike funk found from a James Chance and the Contortions record. “The Jacker” starts off with huge, scrappy riffs and some nonsensical, call-to-arms yelling. Its as close to an anthem as Black Dice have ever gotten, but then the riffs are shortened to sound like pacing race cars, and wonky guitar licks are fittingly introduced.

The new framework probably won’t bring in any new fans, as the instruments are still filtered through the rugged and broken sound that Black Dice have become known for utilizing. But for fans accustomed to their noise, “Mr. Impossible” pulls a lot of fresh mileage out of the band’s well-worn, unusual style.