Mar 012010

EXTRA LIFE Made Flesh (Loaf Recordings)

Brooklyn’s cracking music scene is no stranger to the zany cross-pollination of myriad soundscapes and influences. So it’s pretty much a given that the smugly inventive and wildly distinctive Extra Life (no bloody reference to video games) hail from there. Formed in 2007, the indie experimental quintet comprises head shrinker Charlie Looker (composer-guitarist-vocalist who was a core member of legendary brutal chamber sextet Zs),   violinist Caley Monahon-Ward (Snowblink), bassist Anthony Gedrich (Stats, Ocrilim), drummer Nicholas Podgurski (Yukon), and saxophonist/keyboardist Travis Laplante (Little Women).

If John Coltrane, Morrissey, Philip Glass, Swans, Converge and a couple of chanting Benedictine monks  were all jamming together in the same fucking studio, the cacophony could rival the strange aural panache created by the classically trained Looker and his tight posse in Made Flesh, their sophomore album.

Building on the critical success of Secular Works, their debut album in 2008, the latest album is a contradiction that somehow sounds more unnervingly visceral while being more accessible compared to their earlier material. Helmed by art-metal producer Colin Martson and Monahon-Ward, the eight track album fuses wryly soulful acoustic ballads and bleakly heavy industrialcore dissonance which explores heady themes of power, masculinity, lust, death and spirituality.

My standout tracks in this 38 minutes sonic assault were Black Hoodie and the epic finale The Body Is True. Black Hoodie led by Looker’s cherubic vocals and accompanied by soothing lullablysque melodies, was an infectious indie pop ditty paying homage to the humble shroud that emo kids seek refuge in. The schizophrenic 11 minute doomantia lament The Body Is True, was the perfect juxtaposition of polished choirboyish vocals, dramatic chamber acoustics with feral rhythm section, smatter of psychedelic glitches and climaxes with gang vocals ala Converge’s Wretched World .

(PJ Benjamin)

Extra Life’s Made Flesh from Loaf Recordings will be released on March 2010. For more details, visit


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