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!!!, Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story) EP (Warp/Touch & Go)
Clocking in at a hefty nine minutes and thirty seconds, the two-track EP and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story) is a brilliant wedge of punked-up funk from the Sacramento/New York eight piece !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk or, as a droll sticker on the CD cover elaborates, "any other three repetitive sounds Pow Pow Pow, Unh Unh Unh."). Ignore the lyrics (some gubbins about dancing as a political protest against Giuliani's oppressive regime) and concentrate instead on the booty-shaking beats because this baby was built for the dance floor. Sporting Pigbag trumpets, 23 Skidoo rhythms, and a guitar sound nicked directly from the freaky dancing days of Madchester, "Me and Giuliani . . ." builds up an insistent ass-moving groove straight out of the '80s, stops off for a mid-song breakdown suspiciously reminiscent of U2, then returns back to the orgy of funk. The B-side, the equally long "Intensifieder Sunracapellectrohshit Mix 03" (oh my, how arch), attempts to emulate the trick but suffers in comparison -- the bass doesn't kick nearly as hard and the band's use of vocals as part of the rhythm section leaves behind a nasty whiff of Bobby McFerrin. Still, having been exploring the farthest reaches of this punk-funk hybrid since 1996, !!! know that there's more to the genre than slapping down some bongos over a Joy Division knock-off and they can tear the roof off the sucker like the best of them. As such, their ennoblement as this summer's lords of the rave is pretty much assured.