Aqui The First Trip Out

Six years ago, Refused proclaimed that their send off was the shape of punk to come, and while punk’s wheels are still in motion, New York’s Aqui might be onto something in attempting their own futuristic punk prophecy. Though they sound nothing like the legendary Swedes, Aqui deconstruct all genres of interest in order to construct their own sound. The traces of psychedelic, prog, thrash, art-rock and no-wave aren’t so much unified as they are splattered disjointedly throughout The First Trip Out. Singer Stephonik X chatters with a manic spasticity, producing vocals that shed notes of mysterious androgyny and disorientation. She doesn’t follow the music whatsoever, and as a result, transmits the same effect as the rest of the possessed instrumentation. The guitars (Gustavo Andrade) and bass (Gbatokai Dakinah) always keep you guessing, zig-zagging between shredding chainsaws and spacey grooves. Master Bob Stein’s time keeping is likely the only thing close to a conventional rock structure, but the way he pounds the skins is so feverish you’d expect to see Animal behind the kit, mouth drooling with blood. The short attention spans mean short songs, which keeps the pace of the record fast and efficient. The Mars Volta could learn a thing or two from this band in how to indulge in artistic expression while keeping the game clock down and the listener’s from yawning. (Ace Fu)