ALBUM REVIEW: !!! – Wallop

Release Date: August 30th 2019
Label: Warp Records


Hailing from Sacramento, California, dance-punks !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk) have been throwing out their funky beat brand of music since 1997.

The release of ‘Wallop’ marks eight full-length albums, which is a big feat for a band performing in such a niche genre.

The album kicks off with ‘Let It Change U’ a bassy synth-funk track with a repeating chorus line. Without lyrics, it sounds like it could be the musical accompaniment to a retro arcade boss battle, with its repetitive heavy electronic sounds that continue to build and loop throughout the track. Whilst electronic music isn’t often full of complex lyrical verses, the constant two-line chorus throughout is a bit overkill for a three-minute opener, and the song would be better served as a shorter intro piece.

One of the more interesting songs on offer here is ‘Couldn’t Have Known’, which has so much going on thats it’s almost overwhelming but can also be a lot of fun. The bass line is consistently pumping throughout, the vocals are catchy, and you can’t help but move your feet to the rhythms on this one. The track breaks down from fast-paced synth to a melodic trip in the latter section, and the whole thing feels like the musical amalgamation an 80s acid high – for better and worse.

Where this album shines is when !!! focus on the music and collaborate on the vocals. ‘This Is The Door’ sees lead vocalist Nic Offer joined by New York singer/songwriter Meah Pace to help create a soulful piece of R&B funk music, aiding a smooth transition from easy listening to a dance anthem.

It does, however, directly lead into closer, ‘This Is The Dub’, which is so similar that they’re really one 6-minute long song that sadly overstays its welcome.

While there’s fun to be had with the unique sounds of this record, it often feels like !!! could’ve fine-tuned ‘Wallop’ more. Songs like ‘Serbia Drums’ would comfortably be played alongside radio pop music and hit the mark dead-on, but these songs are one for every four on this album.

A lot of the material here feels like it’s trying too hard to be experimental, but at the same time is too similar to one another that the record blends into a long drawn out loop of funk that rarely breaks out of its own mould.