XV: On the Creekbeds on the Thrones LP (Ginkgo Records, 2023)

April 1, 2023 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

XV: On the Creekbeds on the Thrones LP

Free punk trio XV sound like a secret club that has its own codes and customs — rules don’t apply here. All of its recordings and performances are a glimpse into a strange alternate subset of reality, so it might take several listens or lots of reflection to adjust and make sense of it. Even still, there’s a lot of direct, isolated moments that say something as raw and plainly as possible, and it’s hard not to take notice of them. “Still Interested” is a vibey intro with Emily Roll’s echo-drenched vocals giving a mock dialogue attempting to explain that lack of current activity and socialization doesn’t mean lack of interest. Roll’s work as Haunted has touched on themes like this before, and I know I need to be more considerate when it feels like my friends don’t want to talk to me or hang out anymore. There’s other deeper, more contemplative tracks here, like “The Art”, but then others seem more about coming up with a clever or ear-catching idea and just going with it, like “Tasmanian Angels”. “Fresh Lettuce” starts off as a groove-driven appreciation of clean produce, then takes off as more echo and distortion covers everything and it becomes an excited, swooping dub-punk chant. “No Touching” is a more bassline-driven indie rock tune that repeats the statement “mornings are hard”. “Funkyconomy” is like no wave Shaggs, with a jagged bassline, wailing sax, crashing drums, and the repeated phrase “I wanna live in a funkyconomy” all united in their aggressive drive, but not aligned rhythmically. After “Pen” (“I need a pen to write things down”), the album returns to spoken word songs with the darker, Claire Cirocco-voiced “Cards” and then an appreciation for “Fruit” (especially apples) which actually seems to be more about telling someone to stop talking. “I Won’t Tell” is a loose burner which repeats its title (reinforcing the vibe of secrecy this band gives off), getting lost in a daze before bursting into noisy howling before the tape suddenly shuts off.


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