A Distant Fist Unclenching by Krill was produced by Justin Pizzoferato, who has also worked with fellow Bostonians, Dinosaur Jr and Speedy Ortiz. The album marks a progression in their sound whilst keeping everything that was good about their earlier recordings. Their complex and unusual take on indie rock is enhanced by vocals that range from a gentle whisper to furious snaps.
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Let’s detox from the heady, often overwrought intellectualism Norman Records clearly brings you on a day to day basis, and just say this: the Massachusetts garage punk scene is fucking sick. There’s been a scuzzy renaissance in those faraway American parts of late, and since Speedy Ortiz drew our collective attention to it with the stunning indie rock set-piece ‘Major Arcana’, it’s been all up in our faces: California X showed us what they could do with chords, inventive wordplay and a disinterest in cleaning up in themselves, and now Krill are showing themselves up as makers of gorgeous, heart-on-sleeve garage rock.
As with the excellent ‘Lucky Leaves’, this record recalls the kind-natured but deeply angst-ridden guitar rock of acts like the Dismemberment Plan and Speedy Ortiz -- every element of the record flows with a sense of grace that seems to apologise for the nasally, ever desperate howls and growls of Jonah Furman. Like the switchover between “Sentimental Man” and “Face of the Earth” on the D-Plan’s classic ‘Change’, this record flits between its bursts of singularly affecting indie rock seamlessly, somehow connecting a variety of different sounds -- the switch between the all forefront, overloud “Foot” and the opined-from-inside-a-bucket “Fly” totally fucks with our steady perceptions of time.
Some footnotes: the guitars sound great, posited somewhere between grunge that acts as a metaphor for giving up on life and a brighter indie sound that suggests the best feeling in the world is being in a band. The drums are scattered but refined, and played with a lot of glee. Most importantly, though, is Furman’s songwriting, which I would call “literary” if it wasn’t so direct. His lyrics cut and run, and his delivery makes them sound all the more meaningful. “I asked what did you come here for? / and I said whatever you need me for” is not a new idea, but when it’s wrapped around romantic guitar riffs and a desperate vocal yelp, it certainly sounds it. Ah, fun music that’s actually sad: bless you.
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