Posts Tagged ‘popmatters’

Muuy Biien at Pop Matters

Muuy Biien is a scrappy punk-rock band from Athens, Georgia, but there is nothing slight about their scrappiness. D.Y.I., the band’s new album, may run under a half-hour, but it’s a set brimming with ideas and tensed-up ambition. The lean riffs of “Human Error” hone themselves into impossible sharp edges and angles, while the chorus explodes in power-chord shards. “White Ego” is awash in claustrophobic, paranoid layers of buzzing distortion, crowding up the space as the band thrashes through it.

Meanwhile, “She Bursts” turns that buzz on its head, smoothing it into a propulsive jangle. These songs are equal parts frustration and zeal, the words spit as much as they are sung, yet this is not just split-open fury. These nervy songs are bookended by three movements, all titled “Cyclothymia”, which are big, humming soundscapes that stretch the borders of this taut set of songs. D.Y.I. is an exciting, frenetic rock record, the kind that can rev you up in the moment, but keep you thinking long after the record ends.

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Casper & The Cookies at Pop Matters

Casper & the Cookies have been knocking out jittery indie-pop records for a while now, but Dingbats may be the band at its most cut free. The album explores a variety of pop structures and textures, yet the overall effect feels connected and, at its best, charming. The album kicks off with the crashing drums and ringing chords of arena-rocker “Improvvisamente Ardito”. It’s a perfectly wide-open place to start a record that moves through the cheeky dance-punk of “Drug Facts”, or the lean power-pop of “Jennifer’s House”, or the winking psych-rock of “Lemon Horses”. “Thing For Ugly” mixes some of these pieces to twist basic rock structures into a Devo-esque exercise in nervy pop. Meanwhile, “Sleep Defense” simplifies the formula late in the record to create the its most direct standout.

Dingbats is an impressive and satisfying exploration of pop in so many of its derivations. There are moments—see “Thing for Ugly”—where you might wonder what Casper & the Cookies really look like under some of this costumery, and parts of other songs (“Lemon Horses”, for example) lose some of their impact in their heavy irony. But overall,Dingbats is a confidently played and exciting pop record, aware enough and dynamic enough to explore without painting itself into some revivalist corner.

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