Insanity galore for Zach Hill's sophomore solo outing. The cover, a still from the video for "The Sacto Smile" (which follows a girl beating up everyone and everything in her way), sums up the fiery rampage pretty well. The aforementioned track is Face Tat at its most violent, and features No Age along with Tera Melos guitarist Nick Reinhart bashing crazily with Hill through a wall of static. Fortunately, the album doesn’t maintain this berserk pace. But it is ramshackle throughout. Collaborations with indie’s finest crop up constantly, with Devendra Banhart, Guillermo Scott Herren (aka Prefuse 73), Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier (an equally explosive drummer), Hella’s Carson McWhirter, and Raleigh Moncrieff’s Robby Moncrieff assisting the experimental madman on his sonic mindbender. Face Tat is comparable to 2008’s Astrological Straits in that they both are thoroughly complicated, with deconstructed melodies, constantly changing time signatures, and garbled, effects-heavy production that barely allows the listener to pinpoint exactly what instrument is surfacing. Along with homemade sound effects (which purportedly include recordings of Hill smashing a computer and urinating on a stack of Rolling Stone magazines) there are synth bombs, electronic programming, guitar shredding, and, of course, drum fills throughout. Even amidst the chaos, Face Tat has a new sense of immediacy, and it is a little easier to latch onto songs like “Burner in the Video,” ”The Primitives Talk,” and the excellently sun-warped psycho-ballad “Second Life” than the material from his first album. When the pieces mesh, the results are dazzling. Even when songs lose sight and flail indulgently, the drumming is astounding. Zach Hill might just be the most prolific drummer of our time (as if his work on Marnie Stern’s third album, released a few weeks earlier, wasn’t proof enough). But, on top of this, he is a most unique visionary.
AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover