Black Dice Beaches and Canyons Review

Released 2003.  

BBC Review

Brooklyn quartet lauded by the likes of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore bring the noise...

Nick Reynolds 2003

A man in the middle of a particularly nasty nervous breakdown is gibbering. Or someone is being humiliated on one of those Japanese endurance game shows. In fact, he's one of the vocalists in Black Dice...

Black Dice have been active in Brooklyn and New York since 1997, building a reputation with intense, loud and physically dangerous live shows. They've now unleashed this excellent hour long set. They use a conventional drum kit, with lots of ride cymbal. Coupled with (often processed) vocals and customised machines, this gives their sound an organic, very live quality. They listen hard to each other: there's a group gestalt going on. There's a great sense of dynamics and light and shade, with fragments of melody and quiet moments among the mayhem.

"Things Will Never Be The Same" rises to an alarming climax of intense moaning and metallic loops. "The Dream Is Going Down" starts out like one of Pere Ubu's more extreme sonic experiments pushed into overdrive before switching into overlapping rising guitar drones. It ends with a rather jolly, bubbling hoedown section with enthusiastic tambourine.

The closing "Big Drop" is as close as Black Dice get to conventional rock music. A 16 minute long guitar freak out with glimpses of thrash metal and Sonic Youth, whooping and hollering and (gasp) some conventional pounding drums. Just when you think it's gone it returns for a galloping finale a bit like "Ghost Riders In The Sky". Well, only a bit like it...

Egg heads, noise addicts and pain freaks alike will clutch this to their hearts. But this is a classic crossover record. If you occasionally try something more extreme, you'll find much to startle and impress you. Black Dice have a great name, and they've made a great album.

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