The word “armistice” is antithetical to the squeaky bombs that Dope Body’s Kunk launches through its track listing. This Baltimore Noise Rock band trades blaring sound a la The Goslings in favour of an experimental vibe that works to shellshock listeners. Here and there, fragmentation is encompassing the sonic land, in a way transforming the geography to fit the soundscape of terror Dope Body imagine. When vocalist Andrew Laumann says that he’s “living in a trash can,” in “Old Grey,” the impression he leaves his audience is one of an overlord dabbing their inferior’s cheek with dirt. Kunk is this dab of dirt on the face, one that settles itself within a mire of loud goodness.
Dope Body’s arsenal is awash with wobbly, screeching, and sometimes bubbly noise, making their instrumentation fit well into the vernacular of bands like Skinny Puppy. “Casual” demonstrates this well with its seemingly senseless strumming of notes. Instead of blaring, their purpose is to build the machinations of industrial influences. When “Goon Line” introduces itself with fizzy distortion and a noise solo that cuts off here and there, Dope Body want to make way for the sound of a mangled creatures cuckoo. Guitars and drums constantly throb like a migraine pounding on a near-haemorrhaging spot of brain. The use of clean experimental sounds is not necessarily to create a dichotomy, but to show how subtle and easy it can be to elicit goosebumps from tones that have a neutrality to them.
As a comedic wobbling starts “Old Grey,” the band enter a style reminiscent of Sex Pistols. Drummer David Jacober shows his skills by alternating his speeds in jam-like manoeuvres. “Obey” is the kind of gritty that is present in dens with STD-infected people that have malicious intentions. The song’s carnival way of speaking the words “under my spell” bring the need for a shower. Trent Reznor might have influenced the enflamed vocals in this song–but a band like Filter might have a hand too (“Down”). The electricity running through “Void” is cutting, coordinating itself well with the ominous dark textures. This heightens the pent-up aggression in the vocals and the buzz saws that strengthen the vicarious nature of anger through a listener’s encounter with the album.
While shorter takes like “Dad”, “Ash Toke,” and “Pincer” function like padding between the better motions of the record, Kunk manages to leave the taste of dirt-caked rations in one’s mouth, and that’s meant in a positive way. Dope Body understand what can differentiate themselves from the crowd of noise bands like Health or METZ. One needs to acknowledge that even clean sounds can be horrifying under a tyrant’s terrifying presence.
In There Will Be Blood, Daniel Day Lewis’ character utters the line “I drink your milkshake! I drink it up.” Any sidewalk passerby could repeat the words and not herald the effect Lewis had. Yet he made it terrifying by having an air to him. Dope Body is like the actor in this regard, using unlikely sounds to bring others to their knees. They’re a band that can break armistices.
Dustin Ragucos is a writer of things fictional, poetic, and musical. His main loves include Death Grips and Indie music. Dustin’s blog is host to a weekly blurb about albums old and new.