A Look in The Local Bin: Tongues

Tongues is messy. Tongues is dark and grimy. Tongues is perfect for fans of noise-laced experimentalism. The band’s debut release on Moniker Records is not only full of grinding sonic textures but also catchy hooks. Tongues brings together these two aesthetics to create a sound that is the aural equivalent of doing something witchy in the basement bathroom of your childhood home. In other words, Tongues’ album, I Really Have To Get My Life Back On Track Before I Cut All My Hair Off, is rough and defined simultaneously.

The Kansas City duo starts the album with “We Live Under a Bridge.” Tonally asymmetrical and full of effects-smudged vocals, “We Live Under a Bridge” is the perfect introduction to the music of Tongues. While it is grimy and full of noise, there is something magnetic about the track. Just one listen will have the songs rhythms and melodies stuck in your mind for days. Part 3RA1N1AC, Part B-52s fed to a meat grinder, “We Live Under a Bridge” is dark and moody.

From this initial track, I Really Have To Get My Life Back On Track Before I Cut All My Hair Off only gets better. The album vacillates between the extremes of post-punk pop and noise-driven experimentalism, and as the record unfurls, the band’s aesthetic pendulum swings wider and wider–giving more fodder to the weirder corners of each side of the spectrum.

 

One of my favorite tracks of the album begins the last third of I Really Have To Get My Life Back On Track Before I Cut All My Hair Off. “Killing” is a howl of a track. While I’m unsure of the actual lyrical content, there’s a tonal sadness and pain that pervades the song. The clash between the vocals and plodding bass-heavy instrumentals gives “Killing” an off-kilter limp without detracting from the track’s stunning power.

The album definitely has a Death Grips (thinking specifically of Ex-military) vibe to it. That said, Tongues spins out music far more laid back than Zach Hill and MC Ride. The duo pieces together songs to create nuance and shimmering textures without losing the grit of the punk and DIY scenes. I Really Have To Get My Life Back On Track Before I Cut All My Hair Off burns at an odd temperature, fusing together various aesthetics for a completely new whole.

The album ends with “Feel Sick,” a track that is simply genius. The song’s instrumentals are minimalistic without losing the expanding textures that fill the rest of Tongues’ debut. In a way, “Feel Sick” is the perfect conclusion, the peak of the sonic mountain that I Really Have To Get My Life Back On Track Before I Cut All My Hair Off was working toward.

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