Mythbusters

Brooklyn dance-punk octet frees minds most adeptly when their mouths are shut

Listening to !!! for the lyrics is dumber than reading Playboy for the articles. Really, it's like reading Playboy for the paper cuts—only instead of injuring your fingers, singer Nic Offer's words hurt your head. "Sometimes it really glitters/And sometimes it's even gold," dude sings in the title track from Myth Takes. "But baby, when it isn't/Then it must be rock 'n' roll." Craig Finn doing Billy Joel doing the guy from Wolfmother: not a good look.

As anyone who's seen one of the Brooklyn band's delirious live shows can attest, what you come to !!! for is groove—no other group in Indieland are as committed to turning the beat around. Myth Takes, their third album, throbs with endless motion: "All My Heroes Are Weirdos" has abandoned-warehouse oil-barrel blasts that restyle Einstürzende Neubauten as disco divas; "Yadnus" swipes Gary Glitter's patented glam-shuffle swing, then piles on shivery post-punk guitars; "A New Name" does for the tambourine what "House of Jealous Lovers" did for the cowbell.

Yet even if the lyrics actively discourage the application of your undivided attention, this is !!!'s most songful work yet—a surprising development, given that Myth Takes is the band's first full-length for Warp, where songfulness is valued even less than showmanship. "Sweet Life," for instance, adheres to a tidy verse-chorus structure (and features one of the group's catchiest vocal hooks), while "Heart of Hearts," with guest female vocals from Shannon Funchess, harkens back to the hair-metal r&b En Vogue invented on Funky Divas. "Must Be the Moon" must be the octet's bid for a dance-punk breakthrough: Never before have they condensed their eternal churn down to such a potent piece of pop. The effect, perhaps, of covering Nate Dogg and Magnetic Fields on a 2005 EP. It's 45 minutes of funk in a five-minute chunk.

 
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