Fly Pan Am N’Ecoutez Pas

[Constellation; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: motorik, punk rock, experimental rock, hardcore, glitch, drone, funk
Others: Do Make Say Think (most recent), This Heat, Xiu Xiu

Upon first glimpsing the new Fly Pan Am cover on Constellations website, I just knew there were great things in store. It's Odelay-style garish collage artwork suggested a move away from the somber and into the jubilant. Ever since Fly Pan Am's last record, along with Polmo Polpo's Like Hearts Swelling, Constellation has given me hope for music's future. Here's another sign of improvement in the form of some of the most invigoratingly unique experimental music since This Heat.

The group has expanded on the teaming milieu of tape hiss funk to punk on their last release with a rambunctious, jagged mass of errant saw blades. Vocals are featured more prominently, usually stacked on top of each other (one whisper-singing and one yelping) in a seemingly haphazard fashion. There is such a gargantuan force of mutant energy behind these songs that you know this band would just destroy in a live setting. The albums promo blurb on the site suggested that the album had hooks, but put the term in parentheses. At first I thought it was an experimental label bitterly relenting that their music could be catchy and fun. Now that I've heard the release, I can understand the tendency. There is just so much interesting stuff going on that a memorably humable melody, when it arrives, mostly serves to reward the listener for coming along. You might not be singing N'Ecoutez Pas songs to yourself all day, but you'll probably go back to the album when the faint memory of some phantom progression beckons.

It's hard for me not to get over-enthusiastic about music so miraculously, jubilantly out there. It's striking in the way watching Matthew Barney's Cremaster films without context can be. Or like walking in on Altered States during one of its unnerving hallucination sequences. This record is phenomenally disconcerting, to the point where you're clutching your squirming guts in revulsion, but it's such a sweet revulsion that you can't walk away from it. So, in general, if you feel you can appreciate some kraut-rock repetition mixed with wailing phantoms and proto-punk outbursts, then look no further. Just know that it's only the tip of the iceberg as far as this fearlessly innovative nailbomb of a record is concerned.

1. Brulez Suivant, Suivante!
2. Exeleveur De Renards Argentes
3. Autant Zig-Zag
4. Buvez Nos Larmes De Metal
5. Pas a Pas Step Until
6. ...
7. Tres Tres Retro
8. Vos Reves Revers
9. Ce Sale Desir Efile Qui Sortant De Ma Bouche
10. Le Faux Pas Aimer Vous Souhaite D'Etre Follement Ami

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