Noiserock is hard for most people. Sometimes, rejecting all notions of melody, musicality, and structure makes you sound cool. Other times, it just makes you sound like you got a Guitar Center gift card for Christmas, bought a bunch of random effects pedals, and recorded yourself messing with all of them at once. Black Dice have always managed to avoid the latter, but their catalogue is not easy listening by any means. In their DFA days, they made 15-minute atmospheric think pieces like “Endless Happiness” that played and felt like an soundtrack to a drug trip. Several years later, on Paw Tracks (run by fellow noise-lovers Animal Collective), they delved into a darker, electronic sound. Albums like Load Blown and Repo are manic, anxiety-inducing, and deranged. With more songs of shorter length, the boys had more opportunities to go further into chaos. But now, with new album Mr. Impossible, Black Dice are moving labels again (this time to Ribbon Music), and their sound is ever progressive and ever changing.
I daresay it: Mr. Impossible is the most listenable and approachable record Black Dice has ever made. On this record, you don’t see the ambience of the DFA-era or the pure nuttiness of the Paw Tracks era. Instead, Mr. Impossible grooves. Album opener “Pinball Wizard” even has (gasp!) a recognizable bass line. “The Jacker” is a creepy march through the robot apocalypse, and “Spy vs Spy” is a toned down chiller that even has a tinge of old school R&B. But for diehard noise fans, fear not. Black Dice’s signature sound is still present. Album single “Pigs” is not for the faint of heart. It’s danceable for the right crowd, but for others, it’s a terrifying industrial ride that’s lurch after lurch until the very end.
On the second half of the record, you’ll start to lose any semblance of understanding what it really is that Black Dice does. But that’s what makes them such a great noise band. With Mr. Impossible, Black Dice shows us a dancey and (without a better word) poppier side that we haven’t seen the likeness of since early DFA days. But after just a glimpse, they disappear again back into chaos and calamity, just how they like it. For noise rockers and fans of darker, experimental electronic music alike, Mr. Impossible is another good time headed up by these legends of the craft.
Black Dice haven’t posted any tour dates in support of Mr. Impossible yet, but keep on the lookout! Listen to Mr. Impossible single “Pigs” below: