Marijuana Deathsquads – Oh My Sexy Lord (Memphis Industries)

One part mayhem, another part pensive annihilation, the Twin Cities troupe release their debut, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake

Released Jan 20th, 2014 via Memphis Industries / By Larry Day
Marijuana Deathsquads – Oh My Sexy Lord (Memphis Industries) It's tough to imagine Minneapolis loudniks Marijuana Deathsquads sitting between the likes of Taylor Swift or Avicii on a rundown of the week's Top 40 – for starters, any act that nods to both narcotics and capital punishment doesn't really sit easy with the record-buying public. Same reason bands with names like Smack Evisceration, Lethal Methjection and/or Chop (that one's a thinker) don't ever rumble out of dingy, squalid cellar dives or flea-infested basement flats (NB: those bands are totally fictional).

However, with no small amount of perseverance, Marijuana Deathsquads are unleashing their new LP, Oh My Sexy Lord. Featuring members of Gayngs, Doomtree and Poliça among others, the experimental art-noise conglomerate have defied odds to continue raining sonic fire 'n' brimstone onto Earth. The group have drawn comparisons to Death Grips and HEALTH (or as The Guardian put it: “Crystal Castles meets Hawkwind”) with critical harbingers both lambasting and championing in equal measure the arrival of their berserk, uncompromising, pigeonhole-allergic sounds.

Opening Oh My Sexy Lord is the traumatically monikered 'Ewok Sadness'. Deepest ocean bass pulses ring out like sonar in the briny teal, with the occasional synth whale-song and off-kilter blip ringing out. Distorted, tortured vocals howl over the top, inciting tribal beats to rattle; these beats are oddly organic, juxtaposed against the backdrop of synthesised chaos. As if from nowhere, the track implodes, descending into a noise-rock stomper with an electroclash tint. While reeling from 'Ewok Sadness', 'Scheme' plays. It begins innocuously enough, dawning in an ambient way, but it soon becomes a white-noise crescendo, and the lead-up to drum 'n' bass-aping cut 'Crosstown Crippler'.

The fact is, even within the album, Marijuana Deathsquads – notorious for their lack of desire to adhere to conventional genres or play ball with the known aural realms of pop or rock – even differ wildly from track to track. They splice krautrock and insanity on 'Bad Boy Masterpiece', brutalise feral dance-funk on '8 9 3' and veer towards ambient electronica on 'Goldan' – they're masters of untamed avante-garde, seemingly never interested in committing to a singular vision; rather, they favour the fleeting moments of ingenuity and epiphany, allowing these moments to exude from every pore, virtually unfiltered.

Oh My Sexy Lord is a manic jam session, ruled by ADHD-mayhem, a profound relationship with their instruments/each other, and a callous disregard for standards, expectations and normative noises. It doesn't seem to be a conscious attempt to alienate, more like a hurtling beast stampeding wherever it wants on a whim – if alienation ensues, it's a mere by-product than the deliberate intentions of people who pre-plan everything. In all honesty, it doesn't sound like Marijuana Deathsquads really plan more than a few seconds into the future. Oh My Sexy Lord, as a result, appears more like an LP of crazed experiments, unedited stream-of-consciousness performances and the rawest music ever made.

Whether it's good or not is probably for the intelligentsia to rule upon, for us mortals can scarcely comprehend it let alone pass judgement. But, if you want the short story – it's okay if you like this kind of thing. If you can fathom high-decibel divine machinations and the haywire aural tentacles that follow, you'll be able to appreciate the volume (in both senses of the word) of material here, but if you struggle to listen to even Crystal Castles' III, then you might want to cast a blind eye.