The album opens with "Mister Investigator," a heavily distorted jam with Devo vibes throughout, as well as a layer of almost digital distortion on top of Shaw's vocals and guitars. This effect adds a weird, robotic effect to the whole record, further intensifying Shaw's already powerful voice. At times, you're barraged with a wall of digital fuzz, like at the end of "Attention Ritual," the first single from the album. Negative Growth takes a lot of cues from Emotional Mugger, Segall's most recent solo work, though the focus is on more electric-sounding tones.
Ex-Cult don't give you a lot of time to rest on Negative Growth, with each song getting seemingly faster and more frantic. "Panic in Pig Park" hypnotizes listeners into a false sense of security as its hazy feedback loops grow into a blistering track, only to once again fade back into digital nothingness. It's a recurring sonic theme on Negative Growth; you're either being chased by a ferocious machine, or surrounded by an ominous, digital spectre. (In The Red)