Guerilla Toss Throws Up a New LP

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Gay Disco (nna tapes)

Gay disco baffles you with bombs, or bombards you with bafflement. The lyrics sound like computer poetry, and you can’t tell if the record’s skipping when you put it on, it changes so fast.

Kassie leads the troops, and she’s unflagging. She’s got a lilt to her voice, which she modulates into coos and screams. She’s like another instrument, and it’s like she’s the ball attached to a rubber band on a paddle.

The dynamics are good. It’s got the classic rock loud/soft/loud pattern, but you never know when the soft is going to come, so it’s like a delay stagger, when the green lights are aligned so you can just buzz through traffic.

Some of the patterns evolve like a bubbling spring sending rings out in a pond, bullfrogs hooting at night. Arian can get a cheesy funk sound out of his guitar, and it’s so clear you feel you are there, right in the gay disco, your butt eyed and guys peering at you shyly.

Arian rules this band. It’s his sound that counts, like Harrison’s counted for The Beatles. It’s got heavy psychedelic obbligatos, and they’re wired around the funk like copper coils. You really feel like an electrician when you hear this, clamping high voltage cables with pliers.

And it’s a cure for the blues, like electro convulse therapy. I think it’s Simon who sounds like Beck on the beginning of side two, rapping to Peter’s heavy rim shots. Simon and Ian are like defensive backs in a football game, reining in the energy.

Guerilla Toss have mastered their musical complexity on this disc, so it still sounds simple, and it’s fun, for all the mathematical formulae they wear on their sleeves from music school.

There are days at the beach on this record, and electrical storms. Sonic volley ball, and sparks flying. The tension can be maddening, until you own mental angst is part of the music. It’s dark, this must be said. But then so are their shows, but you don’t notice so much because everyone’s partying. And then, in a way, it’s like looking at the party space the morning after, the silver beer cans glistening in the sunrise. 

Peter tempts you to look at the business as a junk shop charade. Indeed, you have to thread through the stuff to find the salient themes, and it can be grueling to do so. It’s the thrill of finding the shards of an antique pot you know just how to put together.

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