The disturbing Youtube sensation Don’t hug me I’m scared recently took the step to full television series status. In it, three (very debatable) friends/roommates are visited by confusing, incompetent, irritating, and sinister characters who wish to teach them some kind of dodgy life lesson through song. This usually results in a musical number with a shrill peak of pure cacophonous mayhem, bringing blood to the eyes and ears of the three pals. SEAMOSS2 is what you would get if you crushed all those chaotic moments into one unbalanced record.
Sea Moss is an unruly beast. He can be found somewhere in a ballpark populated by less civilized Fuck Buttons or perhaps Animal Collective going wild with East West Blast Test’s collection of bent circuit toys. The new album from the unruly Portland duo is a game in two halves, the last part of which is entirely improvised. So much so that singer Noa Ver can’t be entirely certain of the lyrics of the set.
As you can imagine, the B side is therefore quite exploratory. Bird sounds have space for bweep lonely during “Feeding Frenzy” before diving into what can only be described as a wasp competition. “Needy Needy” is formed from violent, snapping oscillations of teeth that allow Zach D’Agostino’s drumstick work to tinkle and snap, turning into a nervous whirlwind of percussion. ‘Snake Lady’ is surprisingly convincing for a jam session while the rhythm of ‘Number Dreams’ is simplified to a Betty Davis-style strut allowing Ver to practice his contact mics and DIY electronic howls.
As with any experiment, there is a risk of failure. But, for every instance it winds its way out of control, there are four or five moments it turns into a jarring but coordinated hotbed of thoroughbred mayhem. Side A of the album, however, is where the gloves really come off.
‘Split Hairs’ trills together like a pair of washing machines kissing each other. “Candy Run” presents itself as a homemade robot begging for its life via the 56k dial-up modem it was given instead of a voicemail. There’s a hard-hitting onslaught of drums and the kind of shaky bass we’ve come to expect from Sea Moss touring mates Lightning Bolt on the album opener ‘Nap Time’. One frantic beat eagerly transitions into another as heavily overdriven electronic foghorns blast over Ver’s harsh, distorted vocals. The muffled cadence offering a playful side.
And playful seems to be the name of the game here. In particular, on the track “Pig’s Feet” with its screams, screams, ringing phones and a drummer plugged into a burning car battery. You can practically hear the acid seeping from D’Agostino’s Duracell Bunny arms as he boosts and convulses the rhythms in life. When the rhythm is not hot, it is dynamited like the last rites of a Scandinavian coated in cadaverous paint. Some might see it as serious but, above all, it’s fun. And what’s more fun than a couple of friends singing songs together until their ears bleed?