By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Three People Are Keep Having Grape Emergency's
Anchoring otherworldly noise with primordial rhythm, Skoal Kodiak may be the most propulsive dance-inducing rock band ever to perilously teeter on the brink of total disarray. Every song is swamped by vocalist Marcus Lunkenheimer's circuit-bends, distortions, and manipulations. His voice squelches as if he's being eaten by a machine (except the gargles and gasps suggest more of a drowning). Yet as far into the unlit nether regions as Lunkenheimer takes them, the band's bombastic groove remains unpolluted.
Propelled by the rhythm section of drummer Freddy Votel (ex-Cows, TVBC, Seawhores) and bassist Brady Lenzen (Seawhores), Skoal Kodiak works best when the beat is popping. Lentzen, the trio's tonal center, provides many of the record's most memorable moments. His driving bass line on "Harple" has the groove of "Billy Jean" and the infectious chorus melody of Cliff Richard's "Devil Woman." Needless to say, it's not the kind of thing that drifts out of your head soon after hearing it. Votel, for his part, pounds it mostly with a bounce, but there's plenty of technical bravado too, like his incessant, flapping double-kick on "Non-Physical Cats."
Living up to their cultish reputation, the band opted for a vinyl-only release. Adding to the mystique, each side of the record is cut with inverse grooves on the final track, meaning that the songs play from the center of the disc on outward. What would seem like a weird trick by others simply comes with the territory for the area's most danceable noise band.