As usual with screaming Americans doing the clonic neuronic Euro-art-student-with-guitar sound, it’s impossible to intuit any of what Seattle’s Chromatics are writing about. Vocal yowling is reverberated through a mile of tin-walled hall, song titles reveal zilch, and neither do the lyrics, printed small to torment those with failing vision.
Plaster Hounds is scratchingly loud in the right places, though, which is almost all the time. Another weapon is a great drummer who plays in the holes left over by the stringed instruments, if not the other way around. Beating and controlled falling down of stairs carry “24/32/22/22” almost by themselves.
“Monarch” is a dedicated clearer of the weak from any room, a genre tough to pull off, but always welcome when efficient. Electronic handclaps and fuzz-bass take over, building to shrieking man Adam Miller’s big moment, “Ice Hatchets,” a dance number for funky clubfoots. For the finale, it’s an anxiety attack with the slogan “Pain is its own invention,” I think, set to a bip-bop-bipping synthezoid hook. It is said this number was formerly a hit for the Silver Apples.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 6, 2004