!!! Take Ecstasy with Me/Get Up

Despite the fact that it was a rigorous dose of equal parts dance, punk, funk and wonderful weirdness, !!!’s highly anticipated second album Louden Up Now failed to make the difference many expected after the fabulous "Me and Giuliani Down By the School Yard” gave 2003 its dance floor anthem. Currently working on a third album, due early 2006, the steadfast Sacramento-cum-Brooklyn collective have chosen two radically different covers to keep their name in circulation. Surprisingly and disappointingly, their version of Magnetic Fields’ "Take Ecstasy with Me” stays true to the original, in just about every way; the always-unpredictable Nic Offer even adopts a Stephin Merritt bass for his restrained vocals, while the beat remains steady like the original’s indie-electro thump until they lather it towards the end with Tyler Pope’s patented chops and their bumping reverb-laden rhythms. However, it’s their rendition of Nate Dogg’s "Get Up” that deserves the attention, as they prove indie acts can certainly tackle West Coast hip-hop with the right amount of funk and balls. In just under ten minutes, the seven-piece again begin faithfully to Nate’s tune until the track explodes and triples in tempo, quickly becoming a chaotic blast of unbridled beat-driven noise until its prolonged finish. Two interesting choices for !!! that unfortunately result in only one true winner. (Touch and Go)