!!! (chk chk chk) Take Ecstasy with Me/Get Up

[Touch & Go; 2005]

Styles: dance punk, disco-funk, neofunk, electro
Others: Out Hud, Midwest Product, Gang of Four, LCD Soundsystem

One can imagine that the members of the !!! squadron awoke one morning to collectively decide that a double-sided single of covers would be a brilliant move to both satiate their loyal fans and possibly gain them a little more cred with a broader audience. After all, choosing a Magnetic Fields track and a Nate Dogg track seems to reach for a pretty broad spectrum of pop music lovers, but a spectrum not unlike what !!! has been reaching for all along. Magnetic Fields covers the indie hipster bases while Nate Dogg gives them a little of the funk flavor with which they typically infuse their compositions. Win-win situation, no?

The answer is a simple yes. This single or EP may not signal new directions for the band, but it does deliver a couple of fun tracks for fans to chew on while waiting for a new full length. They play around a bit with Merritt's lyrics for "Take Ecstacy with Me," making it into more of a celebration of party drugs (check out the artwork) than the song's composer may ever have intended. One might wish for a little clearer vocals in the mix, especially given Nic Offer's interesting spin on the Merritt baritone, but overall, the track moves along nicely enough to fit into !!! oeuvre. "Get Up" is the real winner though. It begins as a fairly straightforward interpretation, but drastically veers into more deconstructionist territory with noisy guitar work, crazy panning, and production effects dominating an extended breakdown section. You can tell that they were having a lot of fun with that one, and while it may not get them tight with the R&B audience, it will certainly keep their fan base primed for the next major effort.

1. Take Ecstasy with Me
2. Get Up