Clusters is your next door neighbour who drives his offspring around in a minivan, wears sweater vests to Sunday service and loves having his wife walk all over his naked body in 5 inch leather boots while she yanks the chain attached to his nipple clamps. What I mean is that Clusters is a prototypical punk band that also likes to get a little weird (musically, that is).
Formerly known as Sex Cult, the Montreal band has released one other EP and a couple singles, adopting a typical punk DIY ethos and sound. Fortunately, the music escapes antiquation thanks to a sprinkling of more modern punk influences. The band’s newest EP, Teeth showcases their affinity for genre experimentation.
Teeth opens with “Inquiline,” a punch-drunk track with choppy, yet interesting time signature changes. Despite being only 0:53 seconds long, the track explores a few different paces and riffs. “Inquiline” is the musical equivalent of “The Scrambler” at the PNE. It shakes your skull like it’s a goddamn rattle.
Clusters’ fantastic musical experimentation is highlighted on the track “S.Y.P.” The abruptly placed breakdowns bring to mind anti-music grindcore heroes, The Locust.“S.Y.P” is especially evocative of “A Nice Tranquil Thumb In The Mouth” on The Locust’s self titled album. Clusters, while more palatable than the Locust, push the limits of genre much the same way.
It’s not surprising that the band expressed their admiration for Death Grips, another envelope pushing artist with a cult following. Undoubtedly, Teeth’s sound fits within classic definitions of hardcore thanks to aggressive, raspy vocals and gritty recordings. However, when we examine the EP’s creative composition and shifting time signatures it is clear that Clusters’ also takes cues from bands that lay outside the realm of hardcore. The result is an EP that sounds classic without being mind numbingly overdone.
Unfortunately, the Achilles heel of Teeth is “Ants.” This track lacks the emotional friction that the rest of the EP so expertly generates, due in part to the sample of someone saying “the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life are because I was on acid.” It’s a juvenile attempt to seem intelligent or enlightened. Despite this minor weakness, Teeth remains an impressive EP from a band that plays loud and plays weird.— Bridget Gallagher