Black Box Broken
The industrial seepage prevalent throughout Ohio — and I’m talking real rustbelt industry here, not posturing dance genre — must be responsible for the head-spinning amount of musical mutation that comes from the state. Devo, Brainiac, Pufftube, Big Soap and the Deal sisters are just some of the acts that have managed to twist things around in an unexpected, half-machine/half-rockbeast direction. Chalk’s aggressive sound, equally at home with the above names as well as with some of the tasty Chicago noise that spawned acts like the Jesus Lizard, is a masterful blend of pounding drums, staccato guitar, domineering analog synths and low-key vocals. Starting with “Son Of Mothra,” a purely atonal set of boops that will have you scrambling looking for the malfunction, Black Box Decoder is a non-stop riff ride, churning dark waters to reveal an iridescent oil slick on the surface. “I Saw it Coming” is something you won’t see coming, a full-throttle blend of crazed sound that hops from note to note with the grace of a runaway locomotive. Put this in your smokestack and incinerate the place.