In the 1965 film Gonks Go Beat, musical differences have brought a deep schism between the islands of Beatland and Balladisle that even Graham Bond, Babs Lord, Jack Bruce, Lulu and Ginger Baker may not be able to heal. Should this cinematic pop cliche ever get a remake, Microphonies (aka artist Sam Farfsing) would be a willing kamikaze force for Beatland; Farfsing is as likely to record a ballad as Sarah Palin is to sponsor a global warming poetry evening at Ted Nugent’s vegetarian restaurant.
It takes a few listens (and it is definitely a mood thing) but Tttiiimmmeeekkkiiilllsss is much more than the irritating, nonsensical trash that it first appears to be. Microphonies’ seemingly throwaway, not-to-be-taken-seriously attitude can’t disguise a calculated, visceral charm and a slashing, throbbing, cartoonish trash-aesthetic. There are some great wake-up calls here. “Cut Your Fins and Learn to Swim”, for instance, features a splendid finger-in-socket looped shock which becomes oddly beautiful when the slurred whiney vocals disintegrate into a helium-fueled plunge into, I dunno, the guts of a murdered Mickey Mouse (as referenced on the cynical but defiant “We Love LA. We Don’t Know Why”). Meanwhile “NNNmmm” sounds like Mark E. Smith attempting lucidity after a day lying slammed in a Venice Beach gutter without sunscreen.
The best songs on this album have an impossibly fast, splattering energy and an early video game soundtrack sensibility which pummels the listener with obscure samples to wake you from or benumb you into a catatonic state. As the name suggests, Microphonies vomits into the footprints of the Three Stooges and (the group) Cabaret Voltaire and won’t rest until Balladisle has been obliterated.