Harnessing something that would be raw and mystifying live, Naomi Punk have somewhat of a strange offering of a record. While often either too repetitive, or fascinating yet utterly unharnessed, the whole release feels like two records forced together. Between the intriguing sound-pieces and largely repetitive guitar rock, the two have trouble meshing, and leave the record mostly bloated.
Startling the album off on light rumbles, “Introduction I” flows on electric hums and the sounds of knives. Moving through alleys, and the distant beat of a club, “Introduction II” starts to fade in the light sounds of a club. Finally hitting the music, “Chernobyl Carrot” finds the clanging stomps of a band on the edge of a real song. Finding that song on “Cookie” they fall into a start and stop, discordant punk sound that bears its teeth. Catchy in its light hooks, they law their tone over some solid pop.
“Cardboard” rolls a slowly climbing guitar line over line after line of angry vocals. The breaking post-choruses take the tumbling drums into fresh noise as the track starts to fall apart ecstatically. On another instrumental, “Thru The Trees” the band has seemingly warped their or a guitars voice for a trippy but ultimately bland track. Pushing forward on “Chapter II” they find their steadiest groove in the midst of all their effects. While the instrumental moments here are fun, they don’t excuse the excessive length at all. Slowly plodding along, “Tiger Pipe” hits a cool shuffle underneath its warped mess. Unfortunately the clear talent in the composition will be painfully inaccessible to those who can’t get over the mangled sound.
On a groovy beat and one of the most dense synth lines of the record, “My Shadow” provides a static-laden interlude filled with distant voices and one of the strongest dance backbones of the record. With a heft in the vocals and grit in the guitars “Gotham Brake” makes its move in slow, but loud steps. Lacking variation, the track at least doesn’t overstay its welcome. As a electrical buzzes slowly die down, “The Sound of Music” moves through its sonic journey rather aimlessly. Little more than a sound check with funky synths, “Scorpion Demo” tends to feel like filler.
“Perfect” however breathes in the lack of compression with its pounding drums and grumbling voices. Shifting to a steady run, the track turns into a catchy albeit repetitive hook. Buried in a lo-fi pool, “On Mi Mind” is a simple guitar song, floating a catchy mix of melodies without feeling all too memorable. Cycling through sounds and vocalized ennui, “Scorpion Glue” finds the drums at their most dynamic and sporadic as the band makes a free form production of their cacophonous style. “Matroska” mixes slaps and flutters on some of the most intriguing synth moods of the record and boasts a hook that’s endlessly mystifying.
Going into another familiar stomper on “Yellow Cone Hat” it’s a little unclear whether the boys are trying to evolve one song over the course of the album or not. Jittering in loose tempo and phrasing, “Carniceria” makes a more gripping take on the band’s weirdly repetitive style, creating something a little less predictable. More cinematic and sprawling, “Motorcade” tells a story in its sounds and tone, while feeling a little strange for a band piece. “Chains” grinds in haunting chords, as laughs circle around each vocal line, making a creepy but nevertheless demanding piece. Stretching out their sound-pieces, “Taurus” feels like a spark flying around a circuit, however out of place it feels with the jangly guitars.
“70 Cents” goes into melancholy vocals and guitars drenched in chorus and emotion, while offering some of the better writing of any of the vocal-infused tracks of the record. Building with fury, “Journey To The Top” keeps it all going as the drums roar and vocals drone. Never quite hitting a climax the song just feels all too unsatisfying after six whole minutes of build up. Taking most of the dynamics out of the track, “Cookie II” ends up like too much of a simple and fine thing. “Scorpion Theme” closes the record on a final brash cry into the night, as the exploding drums and rain sounds craft a pensive ending.
Words by Owen Maxwell