Jeff Moody
Stripwax

!!! Is All About The Groove

By - Aug 25th, 2010 10:18 am
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On the I-205 north from Fresno to Oakland earlier this year, I picked up an old friend who plays drums in several bands. We had not seen each other since college, but as often is the case with old friends, Tom and I talked non-stop about everything you can think of during the three and a half hour drive, and of course, the conversation began with music. One of the bands Tom plays in is a party/wedding band.

“Nothing fancy,” Tom said. “It’s basically a matter of playing what you know people want to hear. People want to dance. Sometimes, it’s all about the groove.”

This band with the odd name !!! (or some say Chk Chk Chk, others, Pow Pow Pow) are most certainly all about the groove.

Their latest elpee, Strange Weather, Isn’t It? isn’t quite as strong as 2007’s Myth Takes (the smoove groove of “Heart Of Hearts” makes it onto every party playlist I assemble without fail) but still flexes some pretty strong dance-rock muscle, powered by the hammering drum patterns of the late Jerry Fuchs, who fell down an elevator shaft earlier this year. They’ve added Shannon Funchess (her sexed-up growl in “Heart Of Hearts” was smoking hot) as a full-time member of the band. That was a great move — she brings a nice sizzling contrast to lead vocalist Nic Offer’s cool and collected delivery.

What you don’t want to miss: “Wannagain Wannagain” is the one track on Strange Weather, Isn’t It? where !!! just about explodes. It’s dirty funk, a mattress jockey’s delight, all centered around Offer’s super-chill voice and Fuchs hitting everything in his kit with full force and all in perfect time. Fuchs changes up the beat several times where Funchess does hot, Favela- flavored vocal breaks that are all too short, but by the time you start missing her, yer being honked at by a pair of saxophones that are so perfectly placed, you almost forget Funchess.

It’s a sweltering track, maybe too much to sustain over the entire course of a full elpee and that’s too bad cuz if they could, !!! would have the record of the year.

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