by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Sometimes a bit of isolation can do a lot of good, and sometimes things get weird. Those two sentiments are not mutually exclusive however. The amorphous New York collective known as All Boy/All Girl have been busy for the past five years, releasing one genre defying record after another, fusing together orchestral-pop, avant-garde indie rock, and a theatrical approach to chamber pop. Their sound can be characterized as grandiose without a hint of pretension. Last year's Slagroom found the band shifting away from boisterous folk into an art-pop direction that drew equally from pop, soul, and even prog rock. Following a busy touring schedule in support of the record, Nicholas Rahn and Danielle Lovier, the core of the group took off to spend a few months in Ellabell, GA, and SURPRISE, they returned with Troubleshooting, a brand new EP that embraces the weirdest magical properties of isolation.
Paired down from a swelling septet to a duo, Troubleshooting is both gorgeous and ominous, direct and obscure, a vision of pop manipulated and often mutilated into dream-fueled noise, powered by abrasive electronics and a beautifully warped sensibility. The record's title track finds All Boy/All Girl at their most serene, a blissful dream of fuzzy melodies, softly strummed guitars, rudimentary synths, sweeping strings and a tight rhythm. It's a busy song that AB/AG have made simple, Lovier's voice restrained and at its most stunning. "Pacify" begins the descent down the experimental rabbit hole with a Björk-influenced blend of haunting electronics, powerful vocals, and a glitchy industrial sprawl.
From there, All Boy/All Girls' latest dives off the deep end. "Swimming" starts off sounding something like a possessed Randy Newman with a headful of acid before drifting into the void of creepy Lynchian ambiance and back again. "Black" continues with a steady drone and queasy rhythms, a nightmarish piece of clattering instrumentals. Just as the fog seams to have rolled in to stay, "Darling Darwin" moves back toward traditional song-structure, though still expressive in its desires to challenge listeners, creating mood and setting that's hard to shake. It's a dark new day for All Boy/All Girl, and Troubleshooting captures the duo with haunting brilliance.
All Boy/All Girl's Troubleshooting is out now via Grind Select.
6/28 - Brooklyn, NY @ Sunnyvale
7/06 - Rochester, NY @ Vineyard Community Space
7/07 - Toronto, ON @ Monarch Tavern
7/08 - Montreal, QC @ L'entre Nous
7/09 - Albany, NY @ Pauly's
7/11 - Dover, NH @ Sue's
7/12 - Burlington, VT @ Sidebar
7/13 - Boston, MA @ Plough and Stars
7/14 - New Haven, CT @ House Show