Review Summary: Cryptooology is an attention-deficit child's favorite comic book thrown into an amplifier and puked back out.
When Yowie formed in 2001, they had one goal in mind: to free music and its given tools from each other. To accomplish this task, the St. Louis trio took a seemingly complicated and mathematical approach, distancing themselves from typical meters and conventionally pleasant tonalities through geometric relationships and randomly generated integers, among other compositional methods. The result is an album that only Gigantopithecus australis
could fully appreciate.
Yowie's sound on their debut, Crytpooology
can be inadequately summarized as the birthchild of Captain Beefheart and Arab on Radar. Like the former, Yowie vigorously practice and tighten their music; in fact, the album was recorded over the period of three years since they formed. The band's more noisy tendencies come from the latter, with seemingly "detuned" guitars providing the occassional psychotic blast of sheer volume. Throw some math rock into this primordial ooze, and you get the essential components of Yowie's sound.
However inaccessible Cryptooology
may seem, it is important to note that the album becomes easier to digest with every listen. There are even some quasi-hooks buried in this mathematical goop, such as several moments (including the opening measures) of the six-minute "Tara," as bizarre as it may appear to sound. "Towanda" features plenty of stuttering rhythms and constantly-moving guitar work. There's even a somewhat mellow section near the end, if you could call it that. They seem to have a sense of humor though, whether it be through their album cover or song titles using stereotypical Afriacn-American names such as "Tamika" and "Tenesha".
Yowie's attempt to deconstruct music that they find repetitive has led them to create something that, on the surface, isn't much different from groups that bore them. This great irony prevents Cryptooology
from being a truly enjoyable experience; despite fractured seconds of volume change, there still seems to be a significant lack of comprehensible dynamics. Maybe if one spent a day in the mind of drummer Shawn O'Connor, this work would be easier to latch onto. After all, he was just finishing work for his Ph.D in psychology when Cryptooology