EP: !!! (chk chk chk)- Certified Heavy Kats

The new EP by the leviathans of the dance-punk genre, arriving nearly two decades after their self-titled debut, vents as much creativity and unrelenting magnetism to dance (or nod the head), as their greatest releases. The majority refines and perfects the band’s energetic musical trademarks embraced upon the hugely popular 2013 LP Thriller.

Lead single Dial Tone begins the EP with plenty of the fun, gleeful strut !!! brought to dance music since the late nineties.

Second track Maybe You Can’t Make It delivers an absolute highlight of the EP, with it’s riveting bass and drum pairing. These are relatively simplistic, although the bassline is typically elastic, but it is the way they enter and exit as they’re enshrouded by the other instruments, which makes the track so repeatable. As the track concludes, the drums become more fervent, as they quicken with the increasing tension of the vocals.

The EP follows the stellar attributes of !!!‘s 2019 album Wallop, with Maybe You Can’t Make It‘s caffeinated footwork pop and Do The Dial Tone’s lascivious 2-step paying homage to the band’s favoured forms of club music: Chicago House, UK Garage, NYC Disco included. Alongside the members of !!!, the EP also features appearances from  Liars‘ Angus Andrew and Maria Uzor of Sink Ya Teeth.

Although the EP is consistently jubilant, fifth track Wonderful Life is even more so. Lyrics of “Your wonderful life, your wonderful life/The only thing I ever really wanna do” embody this irresistible feeling, but so too does the instrumentation. The combined aura of the energetic drum beats and synths, as well as the intermittent flourishes of the saxophone, add to the already intoxicatingly celebratory propulsion of the band’s sound. Halfway through Wonderful Life, the saxophone’s effect is multiplied. Here, the track enters into a hazy, euphoric instrumental section, with the saxophone whirling away just above the typically bouncy and organic bass.

Penultimate track Take It Easy is a comparatively more blissful, soothing stage of the EP, but remains as exceedingly uplifting as the rest. A soaring, high backing vocal nourishes this zen feeling the track exudes, while the sweetly sustained guitar notes complete it.

7-minute Walk It Off ends the album with more than adequate gusto. The swirl of the synth and bass part concoct an amazingly enjoyable rhythmic melody. The vocals here are especially superb, with the chanted “Walk! Got to walk it off!” boosting the lead vocals of Nic Offer incredibly. Meah Pace trades hooks with Offer in this dubbed-out groove. This track was written purely with the intention of closing the band’s adrenaline-injected live shows, with it’s psychedelic disco-funk romp.

Besides flowing extremely well across all seven tracks, Certified Heavy Kats refuses to relinquish it’s dance-y pull from start to finish, and there is an optimism and joy that most other records would fail to match.

Out July 31st on Warp Records. Listen here.

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