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Louden Up Now (Touch and Go/Quarterstick)

On Louden Up Now, !!! lets the audience in on a li'l secret: "You can learn a lot by taking your pants off." Lest the song in question -- "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Karazzee" -- be taken as a metaphor for the consequences of unsafe sex, the next line sours the deal by urging listeners to "Go up on the roof and stare at the sky." And that's how hit-or-miss this creative and sometimes self-involved dance-rock jam group can be. They get a good thing going, then they keep it going and going until nobody's paying attention anymore.

On the Bush bash "Pardon My Freedom," disco beats quickly subside in a flurry of sweat and sarcasm; just as quickly, the party is over. Other songs aren't as succinct, like the Fugazi-style jaunt into angular punk on "Hello? Is This Thing On?" Just when you start to see the light, !!! slaps funky bass into the mix. "Everybody's acting like I'm fuckin' crazy," frontman Nic Offer announces. Exhausted listeners may empathize with them.

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More by Melody Caraballo

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