Review: Fear of Moose - "Green Lions"

Fear of Moose - Green Lions
(2016 Self-Released)

There's much capacity for chaos in the fallible physical realm. Free will and feedback make it so easy to distort a once-sterile tone, to extend a leg and trip up a 4/4 beat's steady stride, that it's disappointing to watch supposedly trangressive genres like post-punk and no-wave struggle to catch up to the dissonant contortion of post-internet projects like Arca and Oneohtrix Point Never. As satisfying as Institute's hypnotic drone and Captive's frosty gothic synthscapes can be, no post-punk release in recent years can match the brain-kneading abstraction of Fear of Moose's Green Lions in terms of sheer originality. Smearing discordant textures and swampy hues across a misshapen canvas, the record injects the trebly aggression of early Factory Records output with Animal Collective's penchant for rhythmic overlap and the danceable atonality of Autechre.

Green Lions opens inconspicuously - the first half of "Elevator" is a rollicking jangle-pop tune that recalls the rickety rock 'n roll of New Zealand's early 80s Dunedin Sound scene. Grumbles of chunky power chords stumble over snare drum speed bumps, chirping melodies circumnavigating bass lines like the figurative birds that circle the skull of a concussed cartoon character. Midway through the two-minute track, the crunchy morsel of sunshine pop gives way to a spacey post-rock jam in the vein of Built to Spill that gradually melts into a pitch-shifted fondue. 

As the EP progresses, things get increasingly weird. "54 Cards" hides behind the facade of a wiry new wave jam, later revealing itself to be a char-grilled blob of swirling synthesizers. "Suspension", the record's most successfully quirky cut, recalls the jazzy flutter of Minutemen and Talking Heads. Two guitars battle for space on either side of the speaker system, volleying twangy riffs like table tennis smashes atop cymbal splashes. Green Lions reaches peak surrealism on "Dream Room", drowning out its Twin Peaks avant-lounge groove with ear-splitting layers of screeching amp interference.

If you're seeking some post-punk to keep you in spooky spirits post-Halloween, then look no further than Fear of Moose.