Saturday, November 23, 2013

PUNCTUATION: !!!, "The Step"

!!!: "The Step"

When it comes to punctuation in music, it doesn't get any more, uh, punctuated, than the band known as !!! (or, as they have come to be known by those speaking the name, since exclamation points are quite difficult to pronounce on their own: Chk Chk Chk). And in my estimation, they chose a pretty appropriate punctuation mark, since their music is usually quite emphatic. There isn't the uncertainty that would warrant ???, the to-be-continued feeling of ..., or the ambivalent wildcard-ness of ***.

In the music of !!!, the emphasis is on the edgy, post-punk funk, influenced by the music of early Talking Heads, Gang of Four, and Can, with vocals that bring to mind some of the more subdued singing of Mick Jones in Big Audio Dynamite. The song I'm featuring here today, "The Step," is from their 2001 debut album, !!! (their latest album, from earlier this year, is the cleverly titled Thr!!!er). It features a funky guitar and percussion line that could have been lifted direct from Talking Heads' incredible 1980 album, Remain in Light. But it doesn't feel like outright thievery -- more like paying tribute to their predecessors. And arriving on the scene as the first song on their first album, one might say that it was a very "punctual" -- not just "punctuational" -- tribute.

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