!!! (2000)


So a few years back, I'm perusing my local record store. It was the time in my life where I would check out anything that could be seen as "emo." Fate be it, I see an album that says "!!!" 'How odd' I think, and then notice a sticker that one of the dudes at the store had put on the album; it said something to the extent of "if you like emo, you'll love this!" So I picked it up, along with Cross My Heart's Temporary Contemporary. I got home, put in the !!! album, and lo and behold, some funky funky music busted out of my stereo.

This was my first exposure to !!! (which apparently is pronounced "Chk Chk Chk," as opposed to "Exclamation Point Exclamation Point Exclamation Point"). It was odd, and it was different, but it was damn fun to listen to. Though the production was a bit lacking, it was easy to hear about a million things going on in each song. Funky bass lines, some jazzy horns, excellent guitar effects: it was all there. The album contained only seven songs, but the songs were long enough to make the album last the better part of an hour.

So the music was kickin', but how bout the vocals and lyrics? The vocals come across in an almost deadpan voice, that kind that clashes with the upbeat music, but it's still apparent that the singer is jamming out like the rest of the band. The lyrics are not the best ever written but they are tolerable. Topics include drugs, something or other about getting INTENSIFIED, and my personal favorite, the feeling of autumn, titled "The Feel Good Hit of the Fall." Sure, it's not sociopolitical rhetoric or heartfelt songs about girls, but it works.

So in the end, !!!'s first album was not emo...hell, it wasn't very close to being punk, but it was one of the freshest sounds I had heard in a while. With the exception of the production, which could have been a bit better, this album is a solid release, and totally makes a good party album. You cant help but dance to the funk, baby. Or if you're not in the mood for a party, just leave the album on your table as a conversation piece:

"Hey, how the hell do you pronounce the name of this band?"