Clipd Beaks

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Preyers (2006), 7/10
Hoarse Lords (2007), 6.5/10
To Realize (2010) , 7/10

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 (Residents, Factrix, 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, and 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 context.

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 mixed results. 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.

Wake (2012)

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(Copyright © 2012 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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