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Big Chungus

Big Chungus

You have to appreciate a concept that’s primarily focused on making you uncomfortable; where’s the fun without a healthy dose of shock and awe? Young Philadelphia-based label Wet Cassettes is built on those foundations, describing themselves as torchbearers of “weird dirty music for weird dirty people,” a concept that deserves to be saluted from where I’m sitting. Their latest project is Big Chungus, a grimy synth-punk outfit disguising themselves as an underworld creature that I picture to be a drugged-out version of the Golgothan from Dogma. It should be noted upfront that there’s a hefty portion of absurdity at play here, and while there’s a fecal obsession that Chungus puts front and center, rest assured that there will be no poop innuendos coming from me.

The six songs found on this self-titled EP showcase an eccentric combination of electronic drums arranged in punk-adjacent forms, overdrive-distorted bass and synths, and a high-pitched squealing scream that’s reminiscent of Bob Otis from Dropdead. It feels a like a satanic response to New Wave with a lot of those early-80s hardcore tendencies, sporting a very similar disregard for convention. “The Long Pee” might be the closest thing to a single, and it’s almost dance-able with its spacey keys and sinister drums, with existential dread on display with the lyrics “don't go in there after me / I'm not having fun, you're not having fun.” The heavy-hitting “Toothpaste” echoes Necros, with the dissonant but catchy refrain “I’m gonna squeeze ya!”. If you replaced the synth sounds with poorly played guitar, this would fit right in with early-80s hardcore, but that would diminish its intentionally offbeat approach.

I can’t yet tell if this record makes me feel falling-down drunk or if it’s simply inviting you to get on its level. It’s darkly fun, dejected expression in its truest form, and it holds enough surf rock tones that it’s pretty damn catchy at times, almost like there’s a distant undercurrent of Wavves circa 2010. It’s a pure manifestation of being grungy, dirty, and puking up last night’s painkillers and bottle of cheap gin. I don’t think anyone is really supposed to be analyzing the underlying inspirations for Chungus, but it could be that I understand enough of the “weird dirty” aspects to appreciate them. It’s all too appropriate that Wet Cassettes is properly releasing this EP, physical copies limited to 13 “white, waste splattered tapes.”

6.8 / 10Campbell
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6.8 / 10

6.8 / 10

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