Odd Hours is yet another convincing testament against the wildly inappropriate multitude of "pop" tags assigned to Caddywhompus.Inflated Records, 2017
8.3 / 10
Webster’s Dictionary defines “caddywhompus” [ka-dee-wom-puh s] (adj.) as 1. a uniquely New Orleanian pronunciation of the term “catawampus” pertaining specifically to a dialect of noise rock purposefully askew of its genre’s international history; 2. a newly-developed mathematical equation too focused on achieving the tautological feat of an asymmetrical balance to bother with pointless choruses; 3. a triad of guitar, drums, and vocals inextricably synced like an electric guitarist’s faithful cover of an apologetic Japanese politician, or a jazz drummer’s loyal reinterpretation of the Pepe Silvia debacle; 4. an impossible two-man audio assault in the tradition of Death From Above 1979 or No Age wreaking so much havoc the listener is unable to process the band’s overwhelming instrumental deficiencies. Unsurprisingly, the bayou-based duo of Chris Rehm and Sean Hart fall under each of these definitions while performatively personifying this very term.
On Odd Hours, the band’s fifth documented release since teaming up against our eardrums in 2008, Caddywhompus continue their mission of spilling math rock’s calculated anxiety into the nihilistic arena of noise rock. With a sharp increase in production value since their debut, and a minimal reduction in patience for post-rock build-ups since Feathering a Nest’s ten-minute closer, Hours is yet another convincing testament against the wildly inappropriate (and admittedly self-inflicted) multitude of “pop” tags assigned to Rehm’s tinny alto and its conjoined instrumental blunderbuss.
While the roller-coaster-careening-straight-down-into-solid-earth guitar shrieks of “Age of Wild Spirits” no longer haunt the band, the calm before the severe anxiety attack of “Waiting Room” provides an ample substitute – and an apt metaphor – for Caddywhompus’ carefully crafted brand of tension. Apter still, “Salmon Run” exhibits that certain free flowing melody the band so sadistically drowns out with clamor on recent resume-topping singles while suggesting that the Caddywhompus formula mirrors the occasional spastic flopping against a heavy current which climaxes an otherwise stagnant piscine stasis.
Odd Hours certainly isn’t lacking in such aquatic spasmodics. Plug your nose before descending “Appetite”’s waterfall breakdown. However, the album’s standing water can be easy to get lost in. Since ditching the live show recording quality on Feathering a Nest, the band’s records have shed a layer of individuality once steeping them in edgy spontaneity. Hours, at once, feels rushed, scant, and, – gasp – linear in relation to its unhinged predecessors.
It does so in its assigning of personalities to individual songs per standard track listing procedure. This is done rather than letting it all bleed together improvisationally. There’s a plot line to it which vehemently disagrees with the start-stop slop of an infected bladder less disgustingly conveyed through the writing of Remainder and The Weight. Odd Hours continues the process of successfully translating 4-minute riots into digestible bites. But only at the cost of “filler” entering the band’s lexicon. As odd as the new album’s .68 hours are, there’s still a desire to hear them revert to stranger times.