Counter Intuits – Monosyllabilly


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The second album-length collaboration by Times New Viking’s Jared Phillips and Ron House of Thomas Jefferson Slave Apts tosses a DIY Dragnet over a belch from an Ohio furnace that most assumed abandoned. The drums are pots and pans, the vocals are pot and pants, always too big for themselves. The lyrics strain to upgrade every downsize of life. No insult is forgotten. Compared to Sheets of Hits (Pyramid Scheme 2013), this one is less lo-fi, more anxious with catchier tics.

This has been out for a minute but I haven’t exactly seen anybody else rushing to tell you about it. Such is life in 2016. Such is my life, maybe. Finding a place for this sort of work has always been something I assumed somebody else can do in my place. I’ve been proven wrong. It’s me. And it’s you. And tonight it’s the second Counter Intuits album, which gives Ron House and Jared Phillips the chance to really drill down on some of the ideas that sprouted up on their debut Sheets of Hits and continued on that Loki tape (some of the material from which is repeated here). The formative ideas behind this work (Ron’s inextricable connection with the Electric Eels in his performance; Jared’s blade-bending personal challenge to dig beneath the bedrock of Mark E. Smith) both come into sharper focus here, this drive towards roots which intensifies the end product, and also gives such obsessions new shape with the addition of full band tracks (“Deep Storage Space” in particular goes places I didn’t really expect from the directions Counter Intuits has headed before). But the tension that builds up through side A is released, gradually, up through to the last two songs on side B: “Actors Running Sound” plays like a summary of the paths they’ve been on up till now (an impossibly small cadre of fans and intermediaries helping to keep this thing going … fuck it, we basically all know each other, even if we don’t like each other), and “Rocket Surgery,” at which point the songwriting and confidence become so certain that they let loose with their most melodic and memorable cut to date. Look, so many acts that choose to follow themselves into such a place don’t usually have a strategy in keeping with how this all happens (and those that do, with the exception of, like, Sightings, can’t keep it to themselves). With Monosyllabilly, we get pretty much everything we know and love about these guys played to their complete strengths. Not sure how they can improve on this one, but I’m sure they’ll show us someday.
– Doug Mosurock (Still Single)