Nic Offer’s !!! (Chk Chk Chk is a common pronunciation) is a band in transition. Since 2007′s Myth Takes, guitarist Justin Vandergloven left to join LCD Soundsystem, drummer Jerry Fuchs passed away after tragically falling down an elevator shaft, and lead singer John Pugh left to focus on his band Free Blood (replacing him is Shannon Funchess).
Based in New York City, Sacramento and Portland, !!! continues to pull together diverse music cultures on Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, seamlessly weaving in elements of disco alongside pieces of house music. It’s this form that allows !!! to manage to hold the course on their fourth album, but also what dooms it.
Strange Weather Isn’t It? seems acceptable by what we’ve come to expect from !!!, but its hard not to feel like this is a band whose time has passed, especially considering much of their talent has been picked through.
There’s nothing exceptionally compelling throughout the album. Although the accessible opening track “AM/FM” is a tailor-made single, the album peaks about midway with “Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass!” but doesn’t really offer much else after that. Predictable moments of building and breaking are lost in time changes that, at many times, made me think my doorbell was ringing. Certain songs, especially ”Even Judas Gave Jesus A Kiss” play with an air of forced provocateurship.
The band offers up everything they’ve got and throw it at you and hoping something sticks, but what would you expect from a band named three exclamation marks? If you’re a fan already, this album fits in acceptably with !!!’s older work; if not, you may have a difficult time appreciating this album beyond the fourth track.