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Power Pill Fist: Kongmanivong

Power Pill Fist: Kongmanivong

Release Date:2008

By Michaelangelo Matos | Posted 3/26/2008

Ever since horrible noise started messing around in Romper Room territory, experimental acts using the stuff have gone out of their way to outcute one another. Power Pill Fist, the second group of Pittsburgh-based Ken Fec (lo-fi indie-psych darling Black Moth Super Rainbow was the first) may be the cutest of all--or the cutesiest, depending on your blood-sugar level.

Take "YFF, Lou Pappans," the lead track from Power Pill Fist's second album, Kongmanivong: Strip away the distortion, and it would fit right in with the more charming moments from Black Moth's 2007 disc, Dandelion Gum, with its spangly-sparkly keyboard patterns undulating beneath grinding-gearshift overlays of fuzz. Even the poky acoustic guitar that pops up midway through would simply settle the ear in any other context; here it's another signifier that anything can be made funnier, or more alluring, when you can barely hear it under static.

That sort of playfulness is in surprising abundance here, as when "Vile" sneaks in a brief quote from Boogie Down Productions' "The Bridge Is Over" and the iconic piano part is transposed to fuzzed-out keyboard bass. Kongmanivong is uneven, much as Dandelion Gum was, but its aims are more modest, and that makes a difference. Odd as it might be to say, this is an album best appreciated when heard quietly. The noise may be as much the point as what goes on below it, but the more you can hear what's scurrying around down there, the more the entity snaps into place.

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