I have a friend who uses the term ‘caddywhompus’ occasionally, and after hearing this fucked-up duo for the first time I imagine this is basically what he has in mind when he does so.
Think out-of-whack, as in absurdly unusual. Think of something wild and crazy like Two Gallants meets Modey Lemon on the first song, “Let the Water Hit the Floor,” and you’ve got some idea of both the general sound structure and the type of racket involved in their brand of fractured roots music, dancing with fractured electronics.
Guitarist/singer Chris Rehm and drummer Sean Hart bash and wail their way through this set, in what some people might refer to as a rather unhinged manner; like a couple of talented but unkempt kids finally getting permission to make a lot of noise. The two fractured worlds mesh together well enough that the songs take over and the strange juxtaposition of sounds fades into the background. “Balloon Knot,” which is more or less the centerpiece of the album, is tight and twitchy, and brings along with it a bendy vocal and noisy Pavement-ish guitar buzz. That’s the upside.
The downside of all of this experimenting and jury-rigging of audio is “Congo Half-Mask,” a song which could be like a joyful Captain Beefheart-esque odd-fest. Instead, it’s really just a darn mess. The short closing song, “Same Difference,” is the kind of thing they should work on developing, a minimal, less cluttered, more focused druggy mountain breakdown. I’ll bet when they perform live it’s a song like this that really takes off and flies in its own direction. A packaging note: Next time, please use one of those recycled cardboard pocket-foldover covers instead of jamming the disc and booklet into a cheap plastic sleeve. Thank you.