!!! - Shake The Shudder (Cover Artwork)


Shake The Shudder (2017)

Warp Records

Some prefer to define punk as simply a sound, some prefer to define it more broadly as an aesthetic, some, even more broadly, define it as just way of going through your daily life, while others prefer not to bother with definitions at all. Nic Offer and the revolving company he keeps in !!! have been screwing around with all of this for about 20 years and their latest release, Shake The Shudder, continues to stretch and blur any possible definition, and at their best they obliterate any possibility of a definition whatsoever.

"Let them say I'm crazy/ Let them say I'm done/ There's nothin' I can say to change them/ Let them say what they want." So goes the interlude, DITBR, and what serves as the intro to the second single, Dancing Is The Best Revenge, a track that leaves you little choice but to do dance right where you are regardless of where you might happen to be. Outside the context of this record those lines could easily pass for a Lady Gaga radio anthem. Thing is, !!! certainly doesn't care and would most likely even take that as a compliment. Dancing Is The Best Revenge lets you know that !!! is borrowing from Rimbaud and adding a bass line. "If that's the nature of one/ then I'm not one" is Rimbaud's "I is another" for the club... or,
because screw it, your house if you have one.

The next cut, Nrgq, asks "Are you feeling sentimental? Are you feeling insecure?" then doesn't exactly tell you but strongly suggests you don't and if you can't stop doing either, attempt to sweat them both out of your system, take ecstasy and go to a Zumba class or something. Speaking of ecstasy, if you're new to !!! their 2005 EP consisting of 2 covers, The Magnetic Fields' Take Ecstasy With Me and a 10 minute take on Nate Dogg's Get up, isn't an awful place to begin getting acquainted.

Five Companies, the track that caused somebody at my job to laugh at my movements at the desk,
acknowledges that there are "Five companies runnin' everything I see around me" but lieu of
towing the standard punk line of burning those five companies down, we seem to be given the idea that we can live in our own world, even if that world is inside our heads, without their dictating our every movement.

After the slow burn and build of Throttle Service (yeah, a club pun, 'cause why not?), there's Imaginary Interviews which, like Five Companies, recognizes we live in world which mostly consists of routine, reiterates the suggestion that we might not have to succumb wholly to those routines even if we reluctantly participate.

Toward the end of the record Our Love (U Can Get) again cites the bullshit we're told in our daily grind spiked lives, but continues to toss it aside and encourage others to do so as well, even those
other punks spend their energy railing against.

Shake The Shudder is a call to do exactly that. When your landlords or neighbors bang on the door to ask you to turn it down, invite them to the party you might otherwise be having by yourself.