Knew Abloom (Life's Hood)

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Beginning with a clattering jam in the shape of "Brushed with Cabin," which sounds placed somewhere between Amon Düül freakouts and No-Neck Blues Band obscurity on the "how strange can we make this" meter, Knew Abloom finds Hexlove, a project of drummer Zac Nelson, making a lot of random noise in all shapes and sizes. The drumming is actually the key thing, since if nothing else Knew Abloom skews toward hyperactive rolls and fills and more rather than, say, shadowy guitar playing. The net effect might be about the same, though, as Knew Abloom has the same crumbling and collapsing feeling as any number of solo experimenters, with stuttering organs, distorted voices, and more echo than one can easily imagine at points. There's plenty of sweet winsomeness amid it all as well, as on "Pepper Hurts," and if that's the perhaps inevitable result of a decade's worth of Animal Collective's releases circulating, such is the nature of fame. The downside to this approach is a general lack of anything to fully sink into -- one ends up expecting one formless if still enjoyable morass after another. As a result, when Nelson pulls things together more clearly, as on the steadier rhythm roil of "Moun Kids Zum" or the whirls of overdubbed singing on "Excepting Eternity in the Relationship," he's able to show off his approach at its best.

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