Published Sep 11, 2018After three albums of inscrutable noise rock, Guerilla Toss emerged with something resembling pop music on last year's GT Ultra. Make no mistake, the album still featured plenty of bonkers rhythms and sported a sheet of acid blotter on the cover, so Top 40 this was not. But GT Ultra was both danceable and dizzyingly hyperactive, the band's best effort so far. Their latest, Twisted Crystal, refines this sensibility even further, making for some deliriously giddy fun.
Opener "Magic Is Easy" deftly pairs an undulating bass line with twittering synthesizers and a gloriously proggy guitar solo. On the next song, "Jesus Rabbit," singer Kassie Carlson rambles her way through a breakneck verse before switching to a nursery rhyme cadence for the chorus. Carlson has a gift for vocal delivery and her dark, manic humour is a big part of the charm of these songs.
Elsewhere, Guerrilla Toss lean deeper into their newfound pop sensibilities to delightful effect. "Jackie's Daughter" is a slice of fabulously off-kilter funk and the album's most propulsive track, while lead single "Meteorological" uses breakbeats and speak-shouty vocals from Carlson to bring '90s big beat ravers into the space age.
This is all riveting stuff, and while the album does suffer through a few over-cluttered arrangements (the hazy "Walls of the Universe" comes to mind), Guerrilla Toss are very good at not overstaying their welcome or exhausting their audience. At nine tracks and 30 minutes, Twisted Crystal is remarkably lean, considering the kaleidoscopic collage of ideas within. By continuing to pare down their approach, Guerrilla Toss have crafted one of the year's most playful and beguiling pop records, an album that can claim a place with GT Ultra at the top of their catalogue. (DFA)