Thursday, July 23, 2009

Handglops – Ronk Ng Rool [Gulcher]

Debut CD from Pat Kolodgy’s Ohio-based project Handglops.
I really dig Kolodgy’s songs particularly cause they’re almost always about playing music and they’re always buried in copious amounts of fuzz. To my knowledge, the term “noise pop” has never been so specifically (or literally) realized than on this album.
“The Weekend” rolls along on a crunchy Casio drum loop and distorted guitar chords while Kolodgy sings, as one might expect, about the weekend and seeing friends and listening to “your favorite music.” The arrangement is pretty minimal and mostly relies on the vocals for melody but Kolodgy totally pulls it off. “The Show” is one of my favorites, an 88 second stomper. It's chock full of energy and everything but the great guitar line is slurred beyond recognition. “The First Party” is similar to “The Weekend,” singing about picking friends up and having a good time. It gives off just a little bit of a Jesus & Mary Chain vibe to me with a thundering drum machine and slippery keyboard both drenched in distortion that just glides along in its lethargic splendor. “The Meadow” flits along on a hollow skeletal melody that sounds more percussive than anything else. “The City” is similarly rhythmically focused with an unruly 8-bit drum machine and keyboard going a little haywire. “Throwing a Party” gets the blood pumping a bit more, with an uptempo drum beat and even a guitar solo wedged in there. “Start a Band” is another favorite. The lyrics are basically 2nd person instructions on how to make a band (“Play what you want to play/Don’t care how it sounds/Just do it”) which prompts me to suggest this be mandatory listening in all public schools. Kolodgy dials down the distortion a bit and it has probably the prettiest melody on the album so it’s a really, really great listen. “Playing a Show” is another great one with waves of keyboard continually cascading. “Something Fun” and “The Same but Better” make a great one-two punch in the twilight of the record. “Something Fun” is short, fizzy and surely something fun. “The Same but Better” is the flat-out best track on here. It’s a smeary mid-tempo number with a beautiful, whirring, wooly keyboard melody and solo that clinches it. Just a beautiful, unassuming track all around. The fitting finale “The Last Party” sounds like the grown up version of “The Weekend.” The bleeping drum loop is still intact but the vibe and the melody is more mature and features one of the best choruses on the album.
The record is pretty strong throughout cause there are no weak songs to be found. It has its standouts but each track pulls its weight. The record has a very singular sound——there’s not much variation between the songs——but it’s a unique sound. Furthermore, the production (if you can even call it that) is what makes the album such a strong unified statement as opposed to a collection of great songs. Definitely worth checking out, the best rock album I’ve heard this year.
CD available from Gulcher.

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