!!!, “Shake the Shudder”
Shake the Shudder
Like The Faint, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, and The Rapture, !!! (pronounced “chk chk chk”) saw the writing on the wall back in the early 2000s: It would only be a matter of time before indie rock (re)married dance music. Since releasing their self-titled debut in 2001, Nic Offer’s band has put out an album pretty much once every three years, and now they’re here to reap the rewards at a time when Coachella’s dance tents are more packed than its rock stages.
Shake the Shudder finds them wasting no time before getting to the party. “The One 2” sets a moody scene with black lights and smoky stages. It’s the type of experiment that Liars might pull, though unlike that notoriously tetchy crew, !!! doesn’t alienate their audience in the slightest. Offer continually takes graceful left turns throughout Shake the Shudder; multi-instrumentalist Rafael Cohen’s daughter sings on “What R U Up 2day?,” horns pierce “R Rated Pictures,” and Offer’s own feminine alter ego, Nicole Fayu, makes an appearance on “Dancing Is the Best Revenge.”
These moments are neither novelties nor diversions, and they only help to ensure that Shake the Shudder is a seamless stroke that belies its album title. On the one hand, it’s remarkable the band is able to pull off so many stunts over the course of a twelve-song album. But then again, maybe it isn’t: !!! is nearly twenty years old, but they show little signs of wear.