Review Summary: Repo isn't a bad record but it's certainly the least fresh and consistent we've seen from Black Dice thus far.
There's an interesting little moment on Lightning Bolt
's DVD The Power of Salad
where drummer Brian Chippendale talks about the way in which Lightning Bolt are compared to Black Dice
. Black Dice, Chippendale says, are constantly going down a path that reveals more of their bizarre vision with each release while Lightning Bolt's more recent releases are just concerned with rocking the fuc
k out. Six years on from the release of that DVD, the statement is still true. Kind of. Hypermagic Mountain
was certainly the most fun and accessible of Lightning Bolt's releases and if nothing else, Black Dice have certainly gotten weirder (though not in the most predictable way).
Black Dice began as a noise rock group and slowly began to embrace more avant-garde leanings, which were developed and evolved up until 2007's Load Blown
, a wild yet danceable take on electronica. Repo
continues in the same vein of music that you can dance to (not that you would, but it's technically possible), assembled from disjointed, mismatched materials. It's futile to try to explain everything that's going on in this record; the catchy electro bass lines, the mix four-on-the-floor beats and choppy cut-and-paste ones, the ring-modulated vocals that sound like vomiting robots and the random blips and bleeps only make up the basics of Repo
's 14 cuts. The rest of the sounds on the record basically consist of complexly layered, bizarre samples with small bits of guitar and other instruments. The overall sound is something akin to a computer having an aneurysm.
While the sounds on Repo
are certainly interesting, the majority of the songs
are not. Opener "Nite Creme" provides a fun beat with layered noise constantly building over the top it. "La Cucaracha" is the longest track here and certainly one of the most well-crafted but while the rest of the songs usually show flashes or snippets of greatness, most of them fail to engage as whole pieces. At the risk of sounding horribly ignorant, Repo
's major problem is that it sounds like Black Dice have simply slapped a bunch of random shi
t together and released it as a record. Of course there's more to it than that statement would suggest, and it's also true that 'slapping random shi
t together' is what Black Dice have been all about for a large part of their career (at least since Broken Ear Record
is really a "fans-only" affair; close followers of the group will ndoubtedly enjoy what's going on here but anyone else is going to have to wonder what the point of it all is.
isn't a bad record, but it's certainly the least fresh and consistent one I can remember Black Dice releasing and both of those traits are a big deal with 'difficult' music like this. After a few spins of it, I can't help but wonder if they're even trying anymore. Ultimately, listening to this album is like watching WWE; it's fun at first in a weird sort of way, but certainly not worth sticking around to the end for.