Like the name Dinowalrus, which sounds like a mad scientist’s crossbreeding experiment gone wrong, Dinowalrus’s debut is a fragmented amalgam of genres. At first glance, the trio may seem like just another group of fashion-oriented indie rockers -- with Brooklyn clubbing credentials and ironic t-shirts to match -- but behind the silly D&D-esque name and hipstertude, there’s a more complex interior. Not only do multi-instrumentalists Josh Da Costa, Kyle Warren, and Peter Feigenbaum (guitarist of Titus Andronicus) have serious chops, but they are respectably hell-bent on creating obtuse, original sounding music at all costs, even if it means sacrificing an accessible melody. Influenced by No Wave bands (DNA, Chrome, Flipper) as well as obscure psychedelic groups, the trio explores these two styles with abandon, chasing rhythmic skronk with hypnotic ambience until a part starts to become predictable, at which time they shift gears, hard. Each song has a different twist. “Electric Car Gas Guitar” takes dubby synth lasers and monotone slurs to a shouty hardcore chorus; after an extended arpeggiated keyboard lead-in, “Bead” tries on some Kenji "Damo" Suzuki-style vocals over a bassline reminiscent of Kurt Loder's '80s MTV News intro and clarinet squelches; while the dessert trip of “Haze on the Mobius Strip” explores mellow drones and Sonic Youth distortion. Rampant vocals and rhythmic grooves center the album, giving % a reliable sense of urgency, but even so, there’s an unexpected twist around every corner, be it combustible noise pop, electro, or even psychobilly. It’s hardly a consistent listen, and sometimes the journey seems directionless, but the battle between spastic outbursts and atmospheric slosh keeps the listening experience as thrilling as it is challenging.
by Jason Lymangrover