The Fun Years: God Was Like, No
Barge Recordings

The Fun Years' development continues apace on God Was Like, No, its third album (and first vinyl full-length following a string of CD-R releases and mini-albums) for Boston/NYC-based Barge Recordings. In operation since 2004, the group witnessed a recent rise in profile when its “I'm Speaking Through Barbara” appeared on the 2009 installment of Kompakt's Pop Ambient series and when The Fun Years performed at Mutek in Montreal during the summer of 2009. Thankfully, that change in profile has neither altered the Cambridge/Madison-based experimental duo's approach nor its refreshingly self-deprecating sense of humour (as the album title and track titles like “Get Out of the Obese Crowd” make clear). Baritone guitarist Ben Recht and turntablist Isaac Sparks are still kicking out the jams—if one can call the duo's viscous, glutinous drones jams, that is. Being a mere army of two doesn't mean a whole lot either when one of them has a universe of vinyl sounds at his fingertips.

As in the past, the group weaves waves of loops and textures into an opaque, hyperactive mass that grinds and churns relentlessly. As happens in the middle of “Makes Sense to Me,” an occasional guitar theme will rise to the surface to briefly give the material melodic shape but just as often the duo quickly plunges back into a grainy swamp of vinyl crackle and shuddering guitars; one might cite “Little Vapors,” which features an almost dub-like ebb and flow of clangorous ripples, as representative of the style. A subtle build works its way into the material as it progresses from an initial stream of comparatively more melodically focused tracks into its final pair “Get Out of the Obese Crowd” and “Precious Persecution Complex,” with the former a convulsive, corroded smudge of looped voices and distorted themes that unspools at the speed of a zombified lurch, and the latter a tidal wave of rippling smears at the center of which a slow and stately theme faintly intones. God Was Like, No features eight indexed tracks but the detail's a tad misleading, as each one bleeds in to the next, making the album therefore play out like a forty-three-minute head-trip.

November 2010