If the tag "cosmic American music" hadn't already been claimed by rockers in love with honky tonk, then it would certainly apply to Black Dice and Creature Comforts. Since it has and the cold dead fingers of Gram Parsons and his followers aren't likely to loosen their hold on it, then Black Dice must be what hides within that mossy rock, a faceted geode taking in light and turning it in a thousand directions. Black Dice started their electronic spelunking in 2001 with the half hardcore, half noise of Cold Hands, before completely abandoning their avant-core roots for the blissful beeping reductionism of 2002's Beaches and Canyons. They followed with the four-on-the-floor anchor of 2003's Cone Toaster single and the art-gallery cool of 2004's Miles of Smiles EP. Following those creations, it's much easier to hear how Black Dice arrived at Creature Comforts than the jump that came between their previous full-lengths. The album emerges with the tipsy, vaguely tropical guitar of "Cloud Pleaser" and quickly dives into the electro-jamming that they established with Beaches and Canyons. The shifting patterns and off-kilter loops that defined that album are here, at times sounding like a more deliberate version of Maryanne Amacher's vertigo-inducing third-ear music and sometimes like the folk hypnotics of Animal Collective. Things really kick in with the almost title track "Creature." It's all rumble, echo, and a higher-ground drifting that recalls a different kind of cosmic music -- the kosmisch psyche of Popol Vuh (a presence that reestablishes itself later in the album with "Skeleton") as well as the rough soundscaping of fellow electricians Nautical Almanac and the sci-fi soundtrack classic Forbidden Planet all at the same time. It's not all blissed-out bubbling, though, with ugly scrapings and feedback still playing a part in the Black Dice mix without ever overpowering it. Ultimately, Creature Comforts is another starry refraction in the cosmic music claimed by Black Dice, a refraction that hasn't yet failed to dazzle.
AllMusic Review by Wade Kergan