REVIEW: !!!: Me And Giuliani Down By The Schoolyard EP
!!!: Me And Giuliani Down By The Schoolyard (A True Story) EP [Touch and Go, 2003] (sample)
Three words? Blah blah blah.
Though boasting the best record title this year, the teaser single for !!!'s forthcoming full-length is otherwise riddled with clichés. Over only two tracks (the title track and its remix), in less than twenty minutes, it's astonishng how many old tricks the band has managed to stuff in. Handclaps? Check. "Do-do-do" vocals? Check. Vapid lyrics? Check.
With an eight-person membership, !!! at least manage to rise above the conventions of "dance rock/punk" and breath some life into it - due largely to the fantastic work of guitarist Mario Andreoni and bassist Justin Vandervolgen. Both provide some truly inspired, funk-influenced licks. The real problem here is vocalist Nic Offer: he has absolutely no presence and no range. It's hard to be motivated to get up and dance when the command is so passionless. (In other words, when Julian Casablancas has more range than you do, you know there's something wrong).
The Problem With Offer isn't made any more apparent than at the four-minute mark of the title track, when the instruments drop out and then return with a "Where The Streets Have No Name"-esque guitar line leading the way. Nic Offer's monotonous talk/sing/whisper simply can't rise to the occasion, and the wind is taken out of a potentially uplifting moment. The ridiculously titled and forgettable "Intensifieder Sunracapellectromix03" follows, closing off the EP.
!!! have a reportedly intense and ass-shaking live show, and they must, because their popularity certainly isn't based on these perfunctory dance tracks.