!!! - Louden Up Now (Cover Artwork)


Louden Up Now (2004)

Touch and Go


That's all that can be said when listening to Louden Up Now, the second full-length from disco-dance-punk band !!! (pronounced chikchikchik or powpowpow or any three repeated sounds). Yes, I'm well aware that that's a crazy ass name, but in the band's FAQ, they explain that it is more appropriate than a conventional name, because it shows each band member's excitement about playing their music. If that doesn't redefine your definition of awesome, I don't know what would. And if this album doesn't get your ass movin', I don't know what will. It's not uncommon to find yourself dancing around like a madman in your underpants while no one's home with this blasting. It's also not uncommon to have a tough time getting into this kind of music (I'll admit I did at first), but once you warm up to it, you will have a fucking blast.

Now, I know !!! are much, much different than anything found or reviewed on this site, but I felt that I had to bring these guys to your attention. This is too good to pass up. !!! play what is essentially dance music played by a full band. It is very bass-heavy, with random and scattered (and awesome) vocals by Nic Offer, a very eccentric vocalist indeed. Nic's vocals are all over the place, and full of attitude. The entire CD is oozing with attitude, but Nic is where it's at. The things he says are just badass, like "All you fucking squares better say your fucking prayers" and "Everybody cut, cut loose, cut, and shake that butt" and "We don't give a fuck, we don't give a shit about that bitch" and "You could learn a lot just by taking your pants off." His lyrics don't make too much sense (or any at all), but the things that are said are just plain funny and cool.

Like stated before, the music is very bass-heavy, with emphasis on beat and rhythm. There is minimal guitar distortion, but the little guitar noises here and there are well-placed and only add to the funk. There is a lot of hand-clapping, and a lot of brass instruments used as well. Trumpet and sax solos are found all over the place on Louden Up Now, only further adding to the unique experience. Synthesizers, bells, chimes, and tambourines round out the insane mix of instruments. Imagine 70's disco/funk mixed with more recent bands like Hot Hot Heat or The Rapture on a double-overdose of acid and you're almost imagining the concoction of music that !!! plays. It's truly awesome to listen to.

As for the actual songs, my favorite song on the album, "Dear Can," wouldn't sound out of place in the background of something like Grand Theft Auto. It's got a dark, underground club sort of vibe to it, and its bad attitude is just so much fun to listen to. The two-part "Shit Scheisse Merde" is also a hit, with the first part being a bouncy, upbeat jam, and the second part being a slower, more experimental song. "Theme From Space Island" is a nine-plus minute insane jam with all different parts mixed in, complete with "ooh ooh say uhh uhh uhhh saysaysaysay's" (okay, so that's what it sounds like) and "do do do dodododooo's." The best part of the whole album is at 4:19 into this track, where the lead guitar part just sounds so good and is followed by COWBELL. YES, COWBELL. It's so goddamn infectious. "Theme From Space Island" ends on a minute of stomping and clapping and more "doo doo doo's," and it really ends this song on an awesome note. This song is just all over the place, and I love it. Songs like "The King's Weed" and "Me And Guliani Down By The Schoolyard (A True Story)" are almost completely instrumental and electronic, but they sound great, and the bongo breakdown followed by horn solo in "Hello? Is This Thing On?" makes the song one of the best the band has ever done. My only complaint is that some songs drag on a bit too much and have a little too much random stuff thrown in (see "Pardon My Freedom"), but that is very minor, and not even relevant when compared to the greatness of the rest of the songs. Every song is different, and you would be hard-pressed to find a more interesting and original band than !!!.

Without a doubt, this is one of the top albums I will hear all year. Unfortunately, this band's exposure will be very limited, but those who get around to listening to it will be in for a real treat. If you want straight-up, no bullshit fun (and 53 minutes of it!), then pick this up. It's very different, but once you get used to it, you learn to love it. I sure did.

Standout Tracks:

"Dear Can"
"Hello? Is This Thing On?"
"Shit Scheisse Merde (Part One)"
"Theme From Space Island"