Lightning Bolt drummer Brian Chippendale has been releasing solo material under the moniker Black Pus for years, largely available as CD-Rs or in the dark, noisy corners of the internet. Though he’s been toying with accessible melody in the midst of the chaos, it’s never been more apparent than on All My Relations, the first Black Pus album recorded in a professional studio. But this is still Chippendale, and there’s nothing to dissuade you from picturing him moaning through that wrestling mask microphone while manically thumping away at a drum kit.
Lightning Bolt pairs this image with Brian Gibson’s rampaging bass, but here Chippendale works an oscillator with a foot to add the wobbling scaffolding around the interlocking rhythms. His yelping and howling act as the scruffy pigeons occasionally landing on one of the ledges, threatening to tear the whole thing down. Nothing better exemplifies this duality between carefully constructed and dangerous than the seven-and-a-half-minute centerpiece “Word on the Street”. The song opens with a tribal beat, lapping waves of bassy synth pushing against each rapid pattern. Halfway through, everything falls away as Chippendale’s moaning vocals float to the sky amidst the collapsing structure.
Later, “All Out of Sorts” contributes the type of scream-stomp brutality that Lightning Bolt fans crave, while the relatively simple beat of “Hear No Evil” takes an unexpected detour into dance punk territory. “1000 Years” hits on the catchiest melody of the disc, where fragments of lyrics peek through and each audible line favors creation and survival over the rigors of life. Clarity (albeit relative) sounds surprisingly good on Chippendale, and one has to wonder how far he’ll continue to push his tribal weirdness in this direction.
Essential Tracks: “Word on the Street”, “1000 Years”