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Blacktail | Styrofoam Islan | review | rock | Lollipop


Styrofoam Island (Traktor7)
by Brian Varney

Styrofoam Island is a very noisy, mostly instrumental bundle of chaos whose masses of distortion tower over the proceedings like immense waves of nausea. Blacktail reminds me of Keelhaul, if the mathy metal influence was replaced by a love of AmRep noisefuckery and/or Touch and Go-era Butthole Surfers (i.e. Blacktail may not play as well as Keelhaul, but they make a much sicker, much noisier racket).

The 16 tracks included herein add up to something like a soundtrack to an unrealized slasher flick. The faster numbers are propelled by frenzied downstrokes and untamed animal energy pointing towards pure entropy, especially on standouts like "That Tears It" and the primal, tom-driven "Five Minutes of Quality Time With Jesus," which sounds like an unnerving cross between pre-Love it to Death Alice Cooper and Uprising-era Entombed.

Just to make sure you stay confused, every now and then they throw in a complete left-field number like "Let My People Go," a gentle acoustic number not unlike Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here." There's plenty going on here, some of which you won't catch the first four or five times through, so be prepared to spend some time with this album.

The packaging is also worth a second look. Each disc comes in a unique hand-stamped digipak with a piece of Styrofoam glued to the front. The result is as beautifully rendered as the music within, which is why Traktor7 is fast becoming one of my favorite labels. It's tough to ask for more than quality music wrapped in a quality package, so visit the label's website and get in on this shit.


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