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Kling Klang

Kling Klang
(Troubleman Unlimited)

I've always liked the word 'tussle.' There's something about it that implies a lot of action, but it seems kinder and gentler than the word 'fight' or something similar. Hell, it sounds downright sexy if you say it to someone in the right way; "Hey, wanna tussle?"

At any rate, perhaps the four members of the group Tussle felt the same way that I did and named their group that for partly the same reason. Cut from the same cloth as disco-punk groups like !!! and some of the DFA-produced crowd, this is rhythmically-focused music made for booty shaking. With one bassist, one guitarist and two drummers (one banging away on a set literally comprised of junk), Tussle strips things down to very basic elements and works a dub-inflected dance groove like they've been doing it for the past 20 years.

Kling Klang burns through eleven tracks in under forty minutes, and while the group doesn't ever drag tracks out to a completely mind-numbing length, most of the tracks on the release sort of feel like continuations on one another or slight variations on an overall groove. Rubbery basslines bounce all over the place while hi-hat heavy rhythms keep the pace and ocassionally some dubby-delay effects drop into the mix to give things a slightly less grounded feel. "Eye Contact" is the first single from the group (warranting a remix EP) and although it quickens the pace from the two previous tracks, it doesn't really take things in much of a different direction.

There's no doubt that Kling Klang is some fun, but after the album has spun, there isn't a whole lot that sticks in your head. There's no real melodies to speak of on the disc other than the hyper basslines, and while the rhythms and beats keep things bumping along, they mainly kick along in a 4/4 structure, with little variety other than some tripped-out effects once in awhile. Combined with some great visuals (which the group brings into the mix for their live shows), I'm sure the group is a sweaty blast to see in person, but for casual listening Kling Klang runs out of flavors fairly quickly (although the molasses-slow beat and filtered cowbell of "Blue Beat" make for a nice breather towards the end of the disc). Other than Out Hud's Street Dad, there's very little of this new wave of dancepunk that has done a lot for me, and unfortunately Tussle continues that trend.

Rating: 5.75