An expansive and interactive journey through the cosmos
Audiences have lent their ears to the chaotic magnitude of Guerilla Toss’ sound, which has been described as post-punk, noise rock and art rock since 2010. However, the latest body of work to come from the band transcends everything they’ve ever released.
After a series of EPs such as Gay Disco, Smack the Brick, Kicked Back into the Crypt and Eraser Stargazer, mostly composed of a multitude of abstract, yet funk induced mosh anthems, the band has seen a slight detour in recent years. The 2017 release of GT Ultra delivered fresh concords evocative of exemplary favorites comparable to The Talking Heads, The Bangles and Blondie, which was followed up perfectly with their most recent release, Twisted Crystal.
Twisted is an ideal way to describe their latest work. This album brings back the familiar funk of previous records, but in a productively rejuvenating way, along with traditions of classic rock and ‘90s big beat techno. The iconic spirit of Debbie Harry and Susanna Hoffs still shines through lead singer Kassie Carlson, as well as the familiar sensibility of an experience with LSD, which I’m sure many Guerilla Toss listeners are well accustomed to.
The album begins with a song, short and sweet, titled “Magic Is Easy,” which immediately transports listeners to another dimension of reality, a place where one should make “no ties to self” and should question the “tip of the iceberg.” This song is exactly this, the tip of the iceberg. It reveals a further commencement through the universe, a journey where humans should question the essence of reality and what constitutes space and time.
Following this introduction is “Jesus Rabbit,” which questions notions of life and death with lyrics like, “Jesus, Jesus take me from this planet / You’re the leader, I’m your little rabbit.” Continuing with songs like “Come Up with Me,” “Walls of the Universe” and “Jackie’s Daughter,” the band produces a sound much akin to the upbeat ‘80s New Wave rhythms of Depeche Mode and The Cure, both who similarly conjure the eerie feelings of angst and alienation.
The peculiar odyssey continues with singles “Meteorological” and “Green Apple” which each bring a unique desirous quest to transcend the limits of reality. “Meteorological” speaks of a woman of the sea, “sitting, sitting, waiting, hoping,” to be “natural” and “meteorological.” One could only hope to be so in tune with the currents and vibrations of the ever-changing weather patterns.
A similar desire to be in tune with the happenings of life is echoed in closer, “Green Apple,” where listeners are confronted with the authenticity of their presence in the world. “Do you really see?” asks Carlson, encouraging listeners to “Listen to the dry wall, the girl that’s next to you picking at the fibers.” The perceived banality of life is confronted, and as the song closes the album the audience is forced to face the common lull of one’s life.
Through the layering of big beats, warped bass, ‘80s New Wave dance cadence and synth noises evocative of UFOs and robotic machines, Guerilla Toss effortlessly delivers a preternatural sense of the oscillation between the reality of time and space and sends listeners on a solitary quest to find one’s place in the infinite abyss that is the cosmos.