It packs a mighty punch...

So there we were, minding our own business, when 'Wallop' along came a new album by chk chk chk.

Consider us surprised - those !!! insignia have scarcely felt so relevant, so thrilling.

Tapping into the primal urges that fuel their best work, 'Wallop' is actually a layered, nuanced piece of dance-punk, albeit one that could kick your ass at the same time.

Out now, the record references everything from the house phantasia Prince should have had to the impact of gentrification on creative spawning spaces, all while surging into sonic territories unknown.

Here's their track by track guide while you listen...

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'Let It Change U'

We rented a studio from our friend Gabe Andruzzi who used to be in the Rapture. A lot of the record was written/jammed on there. We tried to apply the same strategy we always use of long jams but instead of guitars and basses we were tweaking synths.

For this one we wanted to do a big dumb keyboard line a la Still Going’s song 'Work That Shit Party', where the arrangement of the song is based on the modulating of a simple synth line as opposed to melodic/harmonic changes.

'Couldn’t Have Known'

It’s a fucking tragedy that Red Bull Music Academy is shutting down because their lectures have been extremely inspiring over the years. The ones by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Masters at Work, Trevor Horn…. too many to name really... have directly influenced our last couple of records.

In this case, we watched the RBMA Todd Edwards interview and tried our hand at micro sampling. There’s about four pretty random songs cut up in there. A friend had pointed out how Travis Scott’s songs stop and change on a dime so we tried a radical switch in the middle rather than the usual bridge into the last chorus shit.

'Off The Grid' / 'In The Grid'

We split a lot of songs on this record into halves just for funsies. we wrote the lyrics to this one poolside at an unglamorous hotel in Victoria, BC. This is not usually the sort of place where we write our lyrics, but as these came out rather well, we may book a week at that hotel next time and write all our lyrics there. Asinine is such a great word and as soon as Angus Andrew sent that as the hook, we knew we had to add it to the song.

'Serbia Drums'

New Years Eve before 2018 we played the Chapel in the Mission in San Francisco and between sound check and showtime we walked over to Dolores Park. You weren’t 'supposed to even go in the park' 20 years ago but now it’s a proper posh vibe.

It struck us that if we could describe the current state of affairs— safer, revitalized cities, more ways to put out music yourself, concern about healthy and local food, etc—to our younger selves we might have thought that our side won. But instead we’re in a weird dystopian hipster clown show… especially in San Francisco where there are homeless tent cities alongside Google busses and all the rest.

We wrote the song over a drum loop our drummer Chris Egan recorded at a soundcheck in Serbia on his phone cuz he liked the sound of the room.

'My Fault'

People always try to copy Prince in the corniest ways. throw a Linn drum and an Oberheim on the track and Voila!, Prince-esque. But not us, no sir. We're dedicated Prince fans and we really get it, maaaaan.

This is the acid track Prince would have made. The first time Nic ever heard 'Pink Cashmere', it was on AM radio at like 2am, and that's the kind of feeling we tried to capture here.

'Slow Motion' / 'Slo Mo'

We read somewhere that part of the despair of the current political bullshit is a kind of grief that the events of 2016 marked the death of the idea that we were slowly but surely progressing forward. The instrumental had been sitting on a hard drive for quite some time and the lyrics seemed to fit the mood.

Glasser helped on the vocals for the first half and we had sent the song to Maria Uzor of Sink Ya Teeth. She sent us back the idea for the vocals at the slowdown part. Honestly, one of the best emails we’ve ever got.

For the end is the closest we’ve gotten to trip hop— a genre we try to get into every six months or so but never totally get. But the end rules so maybe now we love trip hop? Or maybe we just love Maria’s vocals.

$50 Million

In interviews this has been one of the most asked about lyrics on the record, but what is confusing? $50,000 wouldn't change my mind, but $50 Million, now we're talking, I've been tempted but not that often, if they want some of this, well it's gonna cost 'em.

Now accepting all offers $50 million and up.

'Domino'

We liked this as just an instrumental for awhile. Hopefully, we'll release that version at some point, but the sound it of just suggested something playful but sad and just kind of yellow at the same time. Domino Sugar factory had been a big beautiful yellow symbol of Brooklyn capitalism. Now it is a beautiful park and still a symbol of Brooklyn capitalism.

'Rhythm Of The Gravity'

Rafael had his second child and realized that having a child is in some ways the most special/psychedelic experience you go through and in other ways it’s the most mundane thing anyone can do. The beat felt British and grimy in a way we like and don’t usually do. The best compliment we’ve gotten for this song is that it’s the closest we’ve come to sounding like The Prodigy.

'UR Paranoid'

On this one we tried to match the k-hole momentum of 4am dancefloors with the actual confusion of reality we all face on an everyday basis lately. We should do an instrumental of this one too, actually. Made one of our favorite videos with this one by sneaking into an abandoned Southern California mall with director Amanda Lovejoy Street and dancing on the empty escalators.

'This Is The Door'/'This Is The Dub'

Sung with Meah Pace, this is one of those classic both sides of the story are told duets. It has that classic 70's soul ballad turning into disco feel, but with slightly different production this could be a country song, though we're not sure what they would do with the dub ending.

We actually broke the tape delay on the very end of the dub, but this was basically the last thing we did for the album together, so it worked out just fine.

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'Wallop' is out now on Warp Records.

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