Last Night My Head Tried to Explode and I Wrote Everything Down
It’s hard to pin down what you’re going to get from a Novoton release before listening to it. So far I’ve been privy to garage, prog, and power pop and now Existensminimum introduces electro to the mix. It’s not electro in the conventional Fischerspooner/Faint tone, but one that’s pared down, humanistic, and straight up weird. “Acid,” the opener, blasts with dubby vocals and a heavy layer of reverb and delay, with an urgency equal to Underworld’s “Born Slippy” or Primal Scream’s Madchester phase. Elsewhere the group pairs its digitized melodies with rough, organic folk percussion, creating a hybrid of two of the most disparate sounds in the music spectrum. “Take Me to Your Leader” pulls a similar trick, morphing no wave chaos into a smooth Krautrock groove. The album closes with “One Day I Shall Die,” a mixture of crazed jungle sounds and caterwauling vocals that somehow winds up a decent impression of the Arcade Fire. It’s a testament to this band’s songwriting sensibilities that they can take such clashing instrumentation and arrangements and make something new and interesting from them. Their chant of “I haven’t felt so alive in 400 years” on “Running Down Everyone” might be a little grandiose, but this album feels more vital and important than most anything I’ve heard yet this year.