The Social Registry puts out some righteous jams: Gang Gang Dance, Telepathe, and Psychic Ills are all top-shelf freaks. But the Brooklyn imprint shit the bed when it signed Growing last winter. Despite creating some killer drones in ’03 and ’04, the duo has been in decline for more than two years now, and the trend continues with All the Way, Growing’s third release for their new label. As with much of their output since relocating to New York, the album is a poorly sculpted fusion of avant noise and minimal techno à la Basic Channel and Pan Sonic. We’re talking 35 minutes of whirs, snaps, and zaps that desperately want to be Beaches & Canyons or even Creature Comforts, but wind up sounding more like an homage to the Terry Riley homage of the “Baba O’Riley” intro.
Growing’s devolution into a Black Dice knockoff makes zero sense. Back when Kevin Doria and Joe Denardo were just stoned college kids from Olympia, Washington, the duo totally ruled. Like Earth’s sensitive little bros, they filtered lava-oozing doom through Another Green World–era Eno. That, of course, sounds like a hot-versus-cold impossibility, but the duo somehow pulled it off, creating a fuzzy throb that roasted flesh while encasing brains in foggy mist. Brutal but gorgeous, chaotic yet serene—that’s what Growing were once about. So what happened? I partially blame the band’s cross-country move. Once in New York, Doria and Denardo—just a couple of hippies, really—found themselves surrounded by hip urban bands uniting the dance floor with the noise underground. And so they tried keeping up with the Joneses. But these dudes utterly lack the producer’s ability to micromanage—a big, fat prerequisite when experimenting with techno-inspired repetition. As a result, All the Way never really grooves; it just sputters like an infant with gas. Please, Growing: Return to the Pacific Northwest. Mother Earth needs you.
Growing play Terminal 5 with Hot Chip October 3 and 4