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Dmonstrations

Night Trrors, Shock!

(Gold Standard Laboratories; US: 17 Oct 2006; UK: 10 Jul 2006)

Dmonstrations, a Southern California/Tokyo post-punk band, tries to carve a place for themselves in the same space as Deerhoof, but end up just sounding like a tribute band. Singer Tetsunori Tawaraya has the freakout thing without the cutesy manga thing; actually, he’s also in Japanese punk band 2Up, which released a similarly messy (but slightly harder) CD, Teenage Mondo Trash, earlier this year. But Dmonstrations brings a bit of pop to the formula, only to explode into chaos when just when you’re getting comfortable. Even though this music has its complexity, it is of the simplest kind: put a drum rhythm in opposition to the bass, add some screeching guitars, and directionless art-vocal. Fragments of melody strain to get a look in on tracks like “Coelacanth Shower”, but are thwarted by Tawaraya’s whiny scream. But three tracks prove there’s more to the band than posture: “London Machine” alternates chaotic atonality with a slow-played arpeggio riff totally Dmonstrations’ own; “I (heart) Night Trrors” effectively conjures a true night terror, with out of tune drones and subtle effects fizzing through the air; and “Polyp” is quite effective at creating this feeling of marching chaos. The messiness is studied, but if the band cleaned up just a little, this difficult disc would have a much wider appeal.

Rating:

Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.


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