Styles: hyper angular technical alien no wave-metal fusion
Others: The Flying Luttenbachers, Ruins
Yowie is your prototypical Skin Graft band: splintered, angular guitars straight out of some mutant copy of Buy The Contortions, peculiar time signatures, and hectic tempos often executed by double bass-propelled drumming -- songs that zip by so quickly you end up stuck somewhere between bored and confused.
On the group's debut, Cryptooology, we've got 7 interchangeable songs in 30 minutes, each one moving along into the next like a herd of parakeets. The attack isn't quite intense enough to qualify as metal, not obtuse enough to be considered standard-issue punk -- just a lot of crazy guitars that sound like their strings are on the verge of popping.
I hate to compare apples to oranges, but there are a number of bands out there that are taking this Skin Graft sound much further than bands like Yowie and bands of their ilk seem to be interested in. Yowie label-mates Gorge Trio, for instance, incorporates loads of different stylistic and compositional elements into their summer 2004 debut -- keyboards, xylophones, harmonic interplay, melodies, push-and-pull dynamics, etc. They understand the power of contrast; they got their point across by engaging the listener, not pummeling them senselessly. Senseless pummeling is all Yowie seem to have going for them; it's almost like an endurance test -- trying to see how long you can stand the heat before you cave in to either your jangled nerves or unrelenting ennui with it all.
Going through each track one-by-one would be useless, as each one essentially blends into the other, as I mentioned earlier. But that's precisely what makes Cryptooology such a disappointing listen: listening to these guys handle such complex changes, you just know that they have the proper tools to make interesting music. They could use their vastly superior technical abilities to create something truly new and awe-inspiring. I suppose they either don't know what to do with the tools or simply aren't concerned with knowing.
All in all, Cryptooology is a decent record for what it is: a rambunctious half-hour of unmitigated battering. It's just not a record I would find myself listening to again any time soon.