01. Violent Astrology 02. A Brief Article Regarding Time Loops 03. Beautiful Dude Missile 04. Title Track 05. Field Sobriety Practice 06. The Elephant Man In The Room 07. What Is Delicious? Who Swarms? 08. Star Baby
As desensitized as we are to just about everything these days, it is still a hair-raising thrill to hear a band as avowedly unhinged as THE CALLOUS DAOBOYS. Primarily rooted in the scattershot noise-core of DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, BOTCH and THE CHARIOT, but with all the melodic extravagance and progressive ambition of BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME or ROLO TOMASSI, the Atlanta sextet are a perfectly fidgety sonic force for these fractious, uncertain times. Their 2019 album "Die On Mars" was widely hailed in underground circles, and the big label follow-up is arguably even more berserk and enthralling. And yes, that is one of the best band names you've ever heard.
There is a definite knack to the multi-genre madness that THE CALLOUS DAOBOYS pull off here with such insouciance. Many bands have plundered the rich seam unearthed by the aforementioned bands 20-odd-years ago, but the act of blending scabrous hardcore and jazz-fueled complexity with electronics, noise and lush orchestration is a pointless exercise without great songs to back up the bewildering onslaught. "Celebrity Therapist" is defiantly uncommercial and designed to confound as much as delight, but it is also full of absurdly memorable individual moments and very little that could be regarded as well-trodden math rock territory.
Opener "Violent Astrology" kicks off, as one might expect, like a riot in an asylum, before drifting seamlessly off into a noirish, widescreen sprawl. Spiky melodies and sweet harmonies spring up from all corners, and the song lurches and fits its way to a satisfyingly inexplicable conclusion. Both familiar and laudably out-there, the DAOBOYS have got all bases covered. Snappier tracks like "A Brief Article Regarding Time Loops" and "What Is Delicious? Who Swarms?" (those titles, always just on the right side of irritating) take a marginally more conventional approach, but only out of a sense of urgency. The former takes a peculiar detour into fractured dialogue and hissing ambience, before delivering a gloriously idiotic deathcore beatdown. The latter begins with maximum aggro impact, but wanders off into loping, Flamenco funk. Elsewhere, the crazed blending of ideas is unrelenting in the best possible way. A peak of efficacy is reached on "Title Track": a cinematic conflagration of wild, grinding intensity, treacly electronics, stuttering, MR. BUNGLE-style clown metal and shimmering waves of post-rock grandeur. Somehow, it all hangs together. THE CALLOUS DAOBOYS are clever, unpredictable bastards, and this is a deeply smart and subversive piece of work.
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