Oakland's Clipd Beaks (originally formed in Minneapolis) debuted with an
electronic six-song EP, Preyers (Tigerbeat6, 2006),
that harked back to the electronic new wave of the early 1980s
Tuxedomoon to mention only the local ones).
The cacophonous orgy of Nuclear Arab,
the propulsive novelty We Will Bomb You (We Will),
the cosmic drones of Hash Angels,
the danceable Smoke Me When I'm Gone (that sounds like an android remix of Ravel's Bolero)
were performed in a casual, sloppy spirit.
Messed-Up Desert, that simply repeats a hypnotic guitar pattern
increasingly wrapped in noise, was more overtly psychedelic.
Layers of electronic, percussive and vocal chaos sculpt No Horizons,
the equivalent of a high-tech freak-out. It sounds
like many records playing at the same time,
until it turns into a digital dadaistic ballet, industrial noise and a final
drone. It's a naive collage, but its anarchic nature was the real trademark
of the band.
Hoarse Lords (Nail In The Coffin, 2007) is no less unstable,
confused and manic.
The noisy psychotic angry rant Melter
and the childish litany of Woo Melodies are the "normal" songs
(by their standards).
Their energetic barbaric spirit is better demonstrated by the
industrial funk of Manipulator, whose chaos escalates to epileptic grandeur,
and especially by
Black Glass, that sounds like the most emphatic Nick Cave fronting the Butthole Surfers, or Jesus Lizard jamming with the Cramps, and ends in a demonic cacophonous dance.
The band's approach has its weakness, though:
Wrath Scapes is a bit too deranged and
Horse Lords too disjointed to account for anything other than
sloppy composition, and the acoustic ballad Let It Win is out of
To Realize (Lovepump United, 2010) adds an almost spiritual flavor to
their lack of aesthetic principles. The psychedelic shamanic overture
Strangler sets the tone, followed by
Blood, whispered ceremonial music on a pow-wow rhythm.
Best is hypnotic Desert Highway Music, another
pow-wow dance but this time drifting towards other worlds.
Each of these is a confused hodgepodge of sounds, and sometimes the lack of
cohesiveness is fatal:
the languid ballad Shot On A Horse and
the aimless seven-minute rhapsody On One
sounds not only cryptic but plainly redundant.
Broke inject a heavy rocker into another tripped litany with
Particularly chaotic is the seven-minute Atoms, a musical
journey of sorts through a jungle of agonizing vocals, layers of distorted cacophonous instruments and aboriginal drumming, with a spellbinding finale.
The vocalist Nic Barbelin and the keyboard/guitarist Greg Pritchard often
battle each other instead of aiming for counterpoint. In most cases
Ray Benjamin (drums) and Scott Ecklein (bass) are irrelevant get their moment
of glory in the
sublimely spaced-out highly propulsive jam Jamn, another highlight.
The cassette A World Without End (2010) contains rarities.
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