Heavy Heavy Low Low
Turtle Nipple And The Toxic Shock
posted on 7/2008 By:
One of the best things about this one is the title, and it’s fucking called Turtle Nipple & The Toxic Shock, so what does that tell you? (If you think the album title is horrendous, try these song titles: “3000, 100 Points, 100pts, Gummy Octopi” or “Giant Mantis Vs. TURT Nip” or “Rotten Church / Mall / Parking Lot.” Heavy Heavy Low Low aren’t afraid to make no fucking sense; that much is certain.)
I've reviewed two or three of these clamorous genre-mangling, noise-mongering, schizoid bands in the past six months—masterminds Today Is The Day and upstarts El Chupa Cobras come to mind immediately. Of those two or three, whichever it may be, both or all of them are better than this. A lesson, kids: a bunch of ideas run together with no regard for flow or traditional structure is acceptable, and even at times preferable, assuming that those ideas somehow coalesce into a sum greater than the disparate parts. But with Heavy Heavy Low Low, it's mostly just snippets of decency amid noisy riffs and abrupt changes, all willy-nilly and herky-jerky and a bunch of other ridiculous adjectives that my grandfather would have used, except he wouldn’t have used them to describe this because he would have had the good sense to stop this and go back to whittling in silence. I never thought I’d string these words together, but Turtle Nipple hurts my head. Oh, the things I find myself saying these days…
The album opens with forty seconds of hiss and feedback laughably titled “Hahahahahahahaha,” before devolving into a staccato riff and Robbie’s grating hardcore scream. The album pretty much continues through spastic territory, with nothing to grab on to and the whole thing done with this irritating air of irony-fueled mischief, as though the band is engaged in some kind of Kaufman-esque act of seeing exactly what an audience will tolerate before becoming nauseous or angry or resigned to complete resignation.
“But wait, what of those snippets of decency, sir?,” you’re probably saying right now. Well, Heavy Heavy Low Low has managed to type a bit of Hamlet here and there, like in the punky “H.D.EYE Hybrid Cyborg,” which sounds like early-80s LA hardcore filtered through Steve Austin’s madness. There’s also the surf-rocking “Supernova Surf Ninjas” and the psychedelic “Is This Your Homework?,” both of which aren’t as nervewracking as their peers. So what do those brief musical moments have in common? Well, they both feel like they were actually thought out, like there was some sense of planning that went into them, instead of sounding as though the mics were pointed at the band and the tape was rolled and they just screamed and played and generally did shit until they didn’t feel like screaming or playing or doing shit anymore. There’s also a passable Black Flag cover (“Wasted”), and just when you think the entire mess is over, the final track is fifteen minutes long, mostly sci-fi noises until a hidden track pops up… It’s probably a cover; I don’t know. I didn’t recognize it.
Look, I’m usually fine with this stuff—hell, I love grindcore, and it’s a mess at times, too, but this rubs me the wrong way, to say the least. Somewhere between the ungodly titles, the sense of wink-wink-nudge-nudge purposeful irritation, and the godawful jumble of distorted and abrasive riffs, it just makes me want to push “STOP.” Despite flirting with cohesion for a select few minutes, Turtle Nipple is sound and fury, signifying nothing and adding up to less.
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