It was like a graceful gift from the gods of chance. In my hands I held â€œCoconut,â€ Archie Bronson Outfitâ€™s third full-length album. I had never heard their music, yet I was drawn to the albumâ€™s cover like a student to a meningococcal vaccine.
Itâ€™s been seven months since I first fed this album to my car stereo, but I decided to dig a gem out of the vault this week because Iâ€™ve always felt that this album deserved a larger audience.
On first listen, I was thrown by Archie Bronson Outfitâ€™s sound. Its dense, guitar-driven, noise-pop-ish genre classification was unfamiliar territory for my ears.
But, with repeated listens, I began to find the accessible patterns in ABOâ€™s sound.
Songs that I at first took for mediocre, such as â€œSharkâ€™s Toothâ€ and â€œHoopla,â€ began to play back in my head while I lay in bed waiting to drift off to sleep.
Simple beats laid the foundation for scratchy guitar loops to dig their way into my subconscious, creating lasting hooks out of noises deemed unfit by other bands.
Yet I couldnâ€™t really get a handle on the album. It was at once punk, noisy, poppy, danceable and downright ugly.
â€œCoconutâ€ is the rare exploratory noise-rock record. It bounces from Egyptian-tinged album opener â€œMagnetic Warrior,â€ to Devo-esque mid-record cut â€œChunk,â€ and ends with the honky-tonk â€œRun Gospel Singer.â€
Yet, through all of its many faces, the album is entirely cohesive.
Sam Windettâ€™s uniquely downtrodden melodies and Dorian Hobdayâ€™s entrenched bass grooves ground an album that, by all means, should sound as if it were created by 10 different bands.
So, seven months later, Iâ€™m still trying to wrap my head around this album. Every time I listen, I find something new: a guitar loop in the background, a synth line thatâ€™s barely audible, a droning female melody.
And while the quest to understand it is ongoing, I can claim this album will end up being my favorite of the year.
Music reviewer Nic Turiciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.