Brooklyn's Smother Party come armed with an intriguing name and an interesting sound. Apparently gaining the band name from an old English custom of literally covering bedridden family members with mattresses and, well, smothering them. This loving ritual was deemed "a smother party." How perfectly morbid. It's the fascinating nom de plume that piqued my interest in the band, and combined with that trippy cover art I prepared myself for a journey in the unknown.
This New York three-piece combine increasingly off-kilter riffs with supreme dissonance to create a work that's both somehow compelling yet inaccessible. The twin guitars (Mike Eber and Kirk Schoenherr) don't sound like any other guitars you've come across. Utilising odd time signatures and curious tuning, Smother Party are safely on the avant side of garde. Casa Limon is the bands first full length record since forming in 2007, and with the addition of drummer Sam Levin they've added a more complex dimension to their sound.
Their sound....well, it's difficult to describe. It's controlled madness. Rhythms gain momentum and fall away at the drop of a hat and it all seems a little bit odd. "Titus" has passages of extreme heaviness, it's hard to believe that such tones are coming out of a guitar (there's no bass here). There's what could possibly pass as a black metal riff hidden in there beneath the waves of crashing cymbals and the crescendo of disordered noise. But - it all makes perfect sense when you're enclosed with this record. Envelope yourself in waves of instrumental experimentation, whack this on your stereo, plug in your headphones and be carried away on looping tides of trance inducing discord.
"Perfidy" again blasts away any preconceptions you might have had when first beginning the record. The final minute or so wouldn't sound out of place on an orthodox black metal album. Lightning fast beats from the drums control the speeding guitar sound, mesmerising in it's intensity. Smother Party aren't abiding by any rules here, none more so than on "Ghost Games" which includes a beautiful mid-section reminiscent of post-rock influenced chords. The track finally descends into a jarring clash of cymbals and reverb and the closing seconds lead into "Memo 109," beginning with a militaristic drum beat and more of those post-style guitar flourishes.
Smother Party are certainly challenging. But sit back, relax, and let them induce a blissful state of confusion.
7.5 / 10
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