Black Dice

Broken Ear Record

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In the last few years, Black Dice have built an insular world of future imperfect electronic clatter, cosmic guitar, and tribal chattering. The latest report in their ongoing tale is Broken Ear Record. It's less glossy than either of its full-length predecessors, Beaches and Canyons (2002) or Creature Comforts (2004), and in addition to a bit of grit there is a stronger rhythmic center to what is happening here as well. Nowhere is the pulse more apparent than on album-opener "Snarly Yow," which builds around a distorted electro synthesizer line before erupting into harsh electronics and an insistent four-on-the-floor beat. But the Dice are too self-conscious to let it last for long, and soon they're back to riding alternating currents over plateaus of frosted guitar delays and sine squelches. Suffice to say, there's a lot going on here, even within a single track. The only other track to lean as heavily on a drum machine is "Smiling Off"; otherwise, it's the usual bleeping, rumbling blissness that the Dice pull off time after time with deceptive ease. However, the tribal heartbeat of album closer "Motorcycle" indicates that even in the nearly lawless, Lord of the Flies world of Black Dice, a little discipline in necessary now and again.

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