4 out of 5
Label: Skin Graft
Produced by: John Golden (mastered by)
Rumbling out of bits and pieces of Yona-Kit or Brise-Glase or Dazzling Killmen or Cheer Accident or whichever other linked, deconstructive bands from the mid-90s glory dayz of post-rock no-wave, You Fantastic!’s 10-track, untitled Riddler EP states its case in its opening less-than-two-minutes-each tracks, of slamming, slightly off-kilter drums, twisting into a descending scale of bass notes and chords. The sound is rhythmic, but harsh; planned, but loose. It’s an instrumental U.S. Maple, focused by some type of mindless, inward anger, the “music” never quite that, while also oddly addictive – suggestive of lost melodies, buried beneath the winding circle of its sad horns and the way it keeps wandering back to a beat.
Riddler’s tracks flow into one another, building toward something, and then slowly falling away from that never-achieved something until the EPs midpoint. Then, the miasma of song stops, and it comes back, and it’s kinda like we’re now hearing the afterthought of what came before – some watery reflection. This pause is a little weird, and the back half of the EP isn’t necessarily as engaging, just because it’s not as disruptive, but viewed as a long coda, it’s an important part of the piece, and just as interesting once given the time.
The kind of disc you can just put on repeat and listen to over, and over; the song lengths and how long the group decides to hold on an idea before shifting to the next gear are the sweet spot such that there’s always something new to hear without it feeling too random – you’re always somewhere moderately recognizable wtihin the album’s flow, and then also surprised by its next steps.