The Washington Post

!!! album review, ‘Thr!!!er’

The group !!! will perform in the Washington, D.C. area. (Warp Records)

Kindred spirits: Chic, Liquid Liquid, Spoon

Show: With Sinkane and DJ Joshua on Saturday at the Black Cat. Doors open at 9 p.m. 202-667-4490. $15.

The title of !!!’s fifth album isn’t entirely a joke. The bicoastal sextet’s “Thr!!!er” does emulate the starker, jumpier numbers on Michael Jackson’s multi-multi-platinum album. But don’t expect ballads, let alone duets with Paul McCartney. While moving closer to mainstream pop-funk, the group (pronounced “chk chk chk”) retains its penchant for angular grooves and spare production. The latter is provided this time by drummer Jim Eno of Spoon, another band that keeps things lean.

Opening track “Even When the Water’s Cold” announces !!!’s strategy. The song consists of little more than vocals and a rhythm section, with a trebly guitar pulsing intermittently. Female voices join singer Nic Offer for the chorus and are conspicuous on other tunes as well. Molly Schnick’s contributions to the dub-inspired “Slyd” are essential and so sing-songy that they recall Tom Tom Club’s schoolgirlish chants.

Offer and his cohorts haven’t entirely discarded their rock side, as they demonstrate on “Station (Meet Me at The),” which quotes the Rolling Stones. But they sound just as serious about “Careful,” with its disco-style swirling strings and falsetto-driven refrain. If !!! can produce more songs as commercial as that one, who knows — perhaps the band’s next album might even rate a McCartney duet.

Mark Jenkins


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
What can babies teach students?
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
How a hacker group came to Washington
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
How hackers can control your car from miles away
Play Videos
Philadelphia's real signature sandwich
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained