A tight thirty minutes of whiplash awaits between the covers of Gloop‘s Crayon Sun, the latest in the ever-swelling ranks of noise-rock tinged releases spraying out of the US underground lately. The genre continues to enjoy a renaissance in recent years, perhaps partially because of the fact that no one can really rigidly define what it is beyond a general sense of ‘I know it when I hear it’.
In Gloop‘s case, they often operate at the more punk infused and frantic end of the spectrum, at times having a hint of some of the 90s San Diego bands about them in terms of their velocity and snottiness. Shadows and I Am in particular come across like a younger, more brain damaged Drive Like Jehu let loose with a whammy pedal and a bag of pills.
Gloop can do a lot with a little. Losing Time‘s looping one chord riff seems needlessly abrasive at first, but as the song goes on it becomes more and more of an earworm. The title track, for all its’ dissonance, has a surprising groove that one can imagine would make it a live favourite, if and when the band can return to the live circuit. Interestingly the most abrasive tracks – the exhilarating run from A Wildflower to the closing, vertigo inducing audio squalor of the closing Transfixed – follow this more accessible moment, coming across like an enormous middle finger to the listener. You have to salute their cheekiness, or bloodymindedness.
The trio pull off the always impressive trick of sounding like they’re about to come off the rails at any minute while still having absolute control over what they’re doing…
The trio pull off the always impressive trick of sounding like they’re about to come off the rails at any minute while still having absolute control over what they’re doing. If you caught the recently premiered Pressure video, you’ll have a solid idea of the ease with which they can go from tightly coiled to murderous rampage and back. And no matter how many times they do it, it never becomes tedious.
If you liked the idea of some of the more art damaged products of the early century’s American underground, the Load or Skingraft bands records bands perhaps, but always found the reality of them a little too hard to take, Gloop might be the band for you. They take the abrasiveness and wiriness of some of those bands but apply the harshness to a slightly more focussed song structure, weeding out some of the more indulgent and pretentious elements that occasionally made that stuff more alienating than it needed to be.