!!!: Let It Be Blue
Over the last 22 years, Nic Offer, the mastermind behind New York dance-punk mainstays !!!, has somehow managed to pull every manner of groove into his ecstatic, party-starting albums like some funk magnet. !!! (pronounced Chk Chk Chk) exploded in the early 2000s alongside The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem, and somehow the collective is among the last bands standing. Maybe it’s luck—or maybe it’s Offer’s insatiable desire to keep exploring different corners of the dancefloor. On !!!’s ninth album, Let It Be Blue, we dive headfirst into an underground ‘90s rave: blinding lights, breakbeats galore and a general feeling of uplift. With the exception of a few tunes that are overly silly, Let It Be Blue is a blissful visit to a different era of dance. The lovely acoustic opener “Normal People” almost serves as a distraction—a warm hug from a friend before liftoff. It’s followed by “A Little Bit (More),” which is a deliriously fun rave-up with a thumping bassline, pulsing synths and a massive breakbeat that echoes classics from The Chemical Brothers. But these tunes aren’t mere throwbacks. Offer aims to get weird and experimental. On the buzzing “Panama Canal,” guest singer Meah Pace duet-whispers, “Cut through like the Pana-Pana-Panama Canal,” before flooding the tune with diced-up, high-pitched vocals that feel like fluttering butterflies. It’s disorienting in the best way. Next up is “Man on the Moon,” a cover of the R.E.M. classic recast as a slinky disco workout, complete with call-and-response gang vocals. It’s so over-the-top ridiculous that it works. “It’s Grey, It’s Grey (It’s Grey)” is more sugar-rush than rush-tothe-dancefloor, but it’s an outlier here. Nine albums and more than two decades in, !!! remains a dependable, party-sustaining force.